Polarizing Filters

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manual_focus Senior Member • Posts: 1,306
Polarizing Filters

I've been out shooting church steeples which generally require shooting on blue sky days to better enhance the contrast between the steeple and the sky. As part of my setup I tried shooting with and without a circular polarizing filter. When shooting with the sun behind you (therefore direct reflected light from the objects) I found the differences remarkable. Much more so than when shooting into the shadows.

To see what the differences were I shot two scenes with and without a CPL. In post, I saw that the CPL (while noted for being neutral), still gave a bit of red color cast which accounted for some of the differences. I therefore picked a bright white surface and changed the Color Temperature so it was "white" and close to each other. I needed very little change without the CPL (5115 to 5150 degrees Kelvin-oK) but a bit more with the CPL (5369 to 5000 oK). Everything else in post was the same between the two images.

One additional note is that while the camera settings were the same, the shutter speed was two full stops difference (1/1600 sec vs 1/400 sec) without and with the filter. The CPL is removing a lot of polarized light which accounts for the differences. To my eye the CPL increases contrast and clarity (and deeper/truer colors) of the steeples.

Still haven't decided which way I'll go.

Enjoy.

Best at "original size" I used the left white column as my reference point (i.e., they are the close to the same in each image) with everything else relative to that point. Therefore, the only difference is I've removed 2 stops of polarized light. The sky is the most dramatic change.

Best at "original size" I used the left white column as my reference point (i.e., they are the close to the same in each image) with everything else relative to that point. Therefore, the only difference is I've removed 2 stops of polarized light.

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