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guide needed on polarizing filter

This is a discussion on guide needed on polarizing filter within the General photography forums, part of the Photography & Fine art photography category; Hi All, I just bought my first circular polarizing filter but I couldn't exactly see the effect of it. Therefore, ...

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    Default guide needed on polarizing filter

    Hi All,
    I just bought my first circular polarizing filter but I couldn't exactly see the effect of it. Therefore, could you explain to me a bit. My questions are

    1. I have read that CPL is used to make the sky bluer. Does this also work for overcast day where blue sky is visible or is it just when the day is sunny?

    2. On how to use CPL, I have read a thecnique of pointing your finger to the sun and see the direction of your thumb to get the direction of polarization? This seems to make sens when the sun is overhead what about if it's in a certain degree other than 90.
    If you can point me to any pictoral tutorial, I would appreciate very much.

    Thanks.

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    kat
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    I just got one a couple days ago too. I'm not to sure how to use it yet but I do know that when I have it on and turn the dial I can see the effects pretty clearly.

    Great questions! Looking forward to seeing the answers!
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    tirediron is offline Senior Member
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    Congrats! You've just purchased the single most useful photo accessory you will ever own!

    When to use it: Pretty much any time you're out doors, especially in bright sun.

    What does it do: Reduces reflections and deepns and saturates colours.

    How do I use it: You will see the greatest results when the sun is low in the sky, so eary morning, and later afternoon/evening, and when the sun is at 90 degrees to the lens axis, so the thumb analogy is correct.

    The CPOL will have little to no effect on the colours and saturation on overcast days, when the sun is high in sky, or when you're shooting toward it/with it at your back. It will still serve to remove reflections from water, glass, shiny metal etc.


    This image shows just how deep you can make a blue sky. This was shot early in the morning (7.30am-ish, and with the sun directly on my shoulder




    This image shows the effect of a CPOL on water; note that the reflection is almost totally eliminated.



    Hope that helps.

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    Thanks so much for that terse explanation and the examples T.I.
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    Would a linear polarizer be used any differently? My Mamiya RB67 came with one that's presumably as old as the camera eg. early 70's and came with a linear polarizer.

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    Thanks TI, that was helpful.


    Just to clarrify some points. Sorry for forgetting my geometry but doesn't 90 degrees to the lens axis mean that the sun is directly on the head?

    Will it be effective to use it to remove some glare from a car window at noon?

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    tirediron is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by kurtdriver View Post
    Would a linear polarizer be used any differently? My Mamiya RB67 came with one that's presumably as old as the camera eg. early 70's and came with a linear polarizer.
    The effects will be visually identical (or nearly so). It's just that some modern auto-focus systems don't play nicely with LPOLs, so pretty much everyone has switched to CPOLs.

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    tirediron is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yisehaq View Post
    Thanks TI, that was helpful.


    Just to clarrify some points. Sorry for forgetting my geometry but doesn't 90 degrees to the lens axis mean that the sun is directly on the head?

    Will it be effective to use it to remove some glare from a car window at noon?
    That would be 90 degrees as well, however I mean 90 degrees when viewed from overhead. The CPOL will still help to remove reflections at high noon, but the effect may not be as strong as desired.

    Just remember that the best conditions happen when the sun is close to the horizon and coming from the direction of your shoulder when you're pointing the camera at the subject.

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    Thank you T.I. I understand the linear polarizers mess up autofocus which is why they don't really work well with cameras having that feature.

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    EJC
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    In addition to Tiredirons tips here is a trick I use.

    Shape your hand into a pistol with your thumb and index finger at 90 degrees. Point the index finger at your subject.
    Face the palm of your hand to the sun as if you're going to catch it.
    Your thumb will point in the direction the idex mark on your CPOL should be pointing.

    Practice on easy subjects,
    Blue sky with puffy clouds watch the sky go from watery blue to deep blue
    Clear water with a rocky bottom the water will go from reflecting the shiny sky to clearly showing the bottom,
    A building with lots of windows acts much the same as water

    When you get results with those try a bush with shiny leaves. Turning your filter you will see the leaves go from boring flat and shiny to bold and richer tones. Then try less reflective surfaces and look for subtle changes.

    I hope this helps

    cheers

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