Monday, October 24, 2011
The polarizer: the magic autumn filter
Below is a shot of Tupper Lake in the Adirondacks of New York, in the late morning, using a polarizer. Although this shot illustrates the use of a polarizer to enhance skies, it also illustrates a potential pitfall of using a polarizer, especially with a wide-angle lens. Due to the wide angle and also the angle I was facing, the effect is not uniform, growing darker to the left side. While this can be corrected in post-processing, naturally it's ideal if the polarizing effect is more uniform. Due to the low-angle to the water, the reflections on the lake were darkened but preserved.
Most commonly, a polarizer is used in an open space when the sun is out, but just because you're in a deep forest or it's cloudy doesn't mean you should put it away. Experiment! Since they eliminate reflections on foliage, a polarizer can highlight forest scenes and autumn color, and although the effect is more subtle, they can have a beautiful enhancing effect even under lightly overcast skies.
Here's a shot taken at Fillmore Glen, in Moravia, NY, under overcast skies with a polarizer. Note the lack of reflections in the water allowing the stream bottom to be visible, and the vibrant colors (which were not enhanced in post-processing):