Have you ever felt like those beautiful, rich colors you witnessed didn't materialize on your camera? Well, they probably didn’t! Why you ask? It has a lot to do with the sunlight. During a beautiful morning walk, you have undoubtedly noticed how rich the colors are...the blue of the sky, the green of the leaves, the red of the cardinal. That same walk in the afternoon, when the sun is high in the sky, would yield flat and desaturated colors due to the of the amount of direct sunlight on the same subjects. Have you admired a river or stream that showed off its beautiful bedrock only to be disappointed with the picture? When light reflects off of non-metallic surfaces, such as water or leaves, it becomes polarized. It's this polarization that can ruin what you see.
polarizing filter to the rescue
A polarizing filter is a piece of polarized glass that is typically screwed onto the front of your camera's lens that absorbs much of the polarized light before it hits your camera's sensor. The filter can be rotated 360º to optimize its effectiveness. It's You simply turn it while looking through your camera's viewfinder and stop when you see your desired effect. It is rotatable because its effect is impacted by the angle of the sun relative to your camera.
KEY BENEFITS OF THE POLARIZING FILTER
- Richer more saturated colors
- Remove glare from water or leaves and other non-metallic surfaces
Look at the images to the right to compare polarized and non-polarized images. Big difference, right!
Which filter to buy?
Like many things, you can spend as much or little as you want. The price varies based on the size of your camera's lens but expect to spend between $50-$90 for a good one that will last you a lifetime. The cheaper ones tend to reduce overall image quality and scratch more easily.
I've had good luck with Breatkthrough Photography filters. Other good brands include B+W, Tiffen, and Hoya. An Amazon affiliate link is below if you are interested in purchasing a polarizer.
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Thanks and make it a great day!