What is a polarizing filter in landscape photography?

By 07/22/2021No Comments
Polarizer vs Landscape Photography
Landscape Photography

Landscape photography has many challenges to create a perfect photo. The major problems faced by the landscape photographers are the unwanted glares and reflections, sometimes the colors and contrasts do not come as bright as desired. To overcome such problems Polarization is the answer. On the other hand landscape photography, A polarizer is commonly called a polarizing filter used in front of the camera lens which helps in reducing reflections, haze, and increases color saturations or contrasts.

The atmosphere consists of water vapor, pollutants, and many microparticles. These conditions changes depending on the weather, time of day, and location. Sometimes there is an increase while other times they decrease. Water vapor and pollutants cause haze and it becomes difficult to see a long distance. 

Even on a clear sunny day, the visibility from a distance is not clear because of the haze. But if one wears polarized sunglasses the view becomes clearer, the same goes with the camera. Adding the polarizers to the lens helps see clearly by cutting through the haze. If a polarizer is used on a cloudy day, it will make the clouds look more in-depth and add contrast, bringing out the flat-looking sky denser.

Sometimes, while clicking a picture of a house or some other glass, there is lots of reflection that will not give the desired look of the photography. Polarizing filters remove these reflections from windows or glasses so that they can become see-through. Sometimes the hot sunny day brings overexposure in landscapes, the polarizer helps in softening the diffused light to bring out much better color contrasts. 

There are two types of polarizing filters available on the market today

linear and circular. These do not define the shape of polarized filters but the way the light waves pass through these filters. 

Linear polarization polarizes light waves that are vertically or horizontally. 

Circular polarization polarizes light waves in a circular direction, leading to left-handed or right-handed polarization. A CPL or circular polarization filter is primarily a linear polariser, with an extra glass detail following it. This is more adaptable than linear types. They are fit for all digital cameras, but a linear polarizer won’t work on DSLR cameras. A linear polarizer also won’t work on a camera that has autofocus.

The circular polarization is more in demand because it is designed to be screwed on the lenses. Once they are attached they can be rotated both clockwise and anti-clockwise to increase or decrease the effect of polarization.

There are certain tricks for using polarization.

 The most important tip is that polarizers work best when at a 90° angle from the sun. The polarization should never be used facing directly towards the sun.

While the main reason to use polarization is to reduce the glare, there are times where glare or reflection adds more beauty to the photograph. For example, to enhance the water bodies like rivers or lakes slightly more reflection can do the needful job. These effects can be gathered by rotating the filter.

Now there are many times when polarization should be avoided. When the reflected light has bright color it is advisable to turn off the polarizer filter as it will reduce the effect of the bright light. Sometimes the wet area needs a good shiny glare for example rocks near the rivers or lakes.

To bring out the shiny reflection it’s better to not use the polarizer in that wet area. Clicking the rainbow is always a good choice to remove the polar filter as it will make the rainbow disappear. Lastly, for night shoots or low-lit scenes polarization should be removed as it will make it dull and shady which will ruin the effect of the photo.

Even though it is a simple tool, a polarizer is a great help in taking photographs with various levels of creativity. No matter how much software is used to bring in the effect, but the kind the polarization gives is beyond any editing tools.

If you want to know more about landscape photography then go to the webpage where you can find all queries and some technical terms also


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