"Sharing life's adventures through photography"

Polarizer Filters

A polarizer's main purpose is to reduce unwanted glare and reflections from objects being photographed. Color saturation of those objects is also increased. Compare the photographs below to see the difference a polarizer makes in these two identical shots taken just moments apart.

Without polarizer filter - Picture #022-017-15 With polarizer filter - Picture #022-017-16
Without Polarizer With Polarizer

Notice in the right photo (with polarizer) that the leaves on the rocks and the rocks themselves have lost most of the shininess that was prevalent in the non-polarized image on the left. With the glare or reflection minimized, the leaves and rocks also appear darker in color saturation as well as the flowing water.

Each picture has elements and a different look that I like, but the non-polarized photo on the left looks more like what I actually saw which is what attracted me to shoot this picture to start with.

Your comments as to which picture you like better are welcome. Just click here and tell me what you think.

All my lenses have UV filters attached to protect them from scratches, dirt, and grime (it's cheaper to replace a UV filter than a damaged lens). Other than that, I seldom use filters, but I am using a polarizer more and more in my landscape photography to darken the sky and enhance the clouds.

Notes about the photos:

These were taken October 2000 on Roaring Fork Motor Trail in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Camera was a Nikon F100 with an AF Zoom-Nikkor 24-50mm f/3.3-4.5D lens with a Tiffen circular polarizer filter attached. The images were probably taken near the 24mm end of the zoom. I mounted the camera on a Bogen 3021 tripod equiped with a Bogen 3055 Ball head. Film was Kodak Ektachrome Elite 100. Exposure was unrecorded, but I probably used at least a 1 second exposure with a small aperature of around f/16 or 22.

When shooting mountain streams such as this, I usually use a long shutter speed of at least 1 second, and sometimes longer depending upon the amount of light available, to get the milky look of the churning water.


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Last updated or revised on February 5, 2013.
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