Every landscape photographer should know that polarizing filters are one of the best ally to reduce unwanted glare and reflections, struggle to make wet surfaces look good, or to get the contrast and colors to pop in your image. A circular polarizer isn’t the solution to all problems but it’s a tool that works wonders. It’s one that most landscape photographers love and it’s one that should be in your camera bag too.
WHAT ARE POLARIZING FILTERS?
A polarizer filter works to reduce reflected light reaching the camera’s sensor. You’ll find it particularely useful when working with shiny surfaces, during daytime, or when you want to make colors and contrast looking more pop. If your main photography is the landscape this circular polarizer will be your best friend. Let’s see all the vantages to use a polarizer in landscape photography:
Control of Reflections
The first reason to use a Circular Polarizer is the control of reflections, they can reduce unwanted glare and reflections from shiny elements. This is a common struggle when photographing water, especially during bright light. One of the most common situations is that of the surfaces of lakes where the reflections makes the water surface looking more bright and it doesn’t allow to looks through, using a polarizer reduces the reflections and allows to bring back the natural colors and tones of the water
One of the best visible impact of using polarizing filters is enhance the contrast in the sky that looks more blue, this is the main reason why landscape photographers use circular polarizer during daytime. The increase in contrast is particularly noticeable when there are elements that stand out in the photographed scene such as the difference in colors between the subject and the sky
Enhance Colors and Saturations
This is certainly one of the most interesting aspects of the use of polarizing filters, the increase in saturation and colors of a photo. Autumn is the perfect season to use this type of filter in order to benefit from the saturation increase on autumn colors or as a further element to intensify the colors of the sky
BEST SITUATIONS TO USE A POLARIZING FILTER
As mentioned at the beginning of this article polarizers are very useful to the landscape photographer, let’s see together some of the situations most recurring situations where they are of particular use
- When photographing waterfalls – The Circular Polarizer is a favorite among landscape photographers when.photographing waterfalls, they increase the colors of the surrounding areas, reduce glare and allow you to slightly increase exposure times
- During daytime photography – The CPL is a common filter to use during daytime photography as it adds contrast to the sky
- When photographing forests – When you’re in a woods or forests the Circular Polarizer will help enhance the colors in the foliage, it also remove glare from wet leaves
HOW TO USE A CIRCULAR POLARIZER?
A PL filter is a polarizing filter is formed by two glasses with a polarizing film between. Lights normally oscillates in all directions but with this polarizing film inside it absorb the light and convey it in a specific direction
But what does it mean circular polarizing? The light that passes through the filter passes also through a wave plate that changes it to a circularly rotating light. This circularly rotating light is very similar to normal light (remember that light moves in all directions) and thanks to this it can vibrate again in all directions and it avoid the interference of the half-mirror of the camera.
In pratical therms, after placing the filter in front of the lens it is possible to rotate the outer part of a circular polarizer looking at the triangle on it. When the triangle is upwards the polarizing film inside comes horizontal, this affect the image in the strongest way. You can make a test in the sky and turn on the CPL you will see clearly how it looks. Keep in mind to turn back the filter in the original position before the next shot, especially if you move between horizontal and vertical compositions because what affect the one can be very different for the others shots
WHAT CIRCULAR POLARIZER TO CHOOSE
At my opinion the best choice must fall on the quality, not only of the lenses but also of the fabric materials. There are many brands and models, my choice is on Hoya filters that guarantee an excellent performance with excellent construction materials. The circular polarizer by Hoya HD MKII CIR-PL is equipped with a very effective high trasmittance coating system that consist in 16 anti reflective layers on both filter size that drastically reduces the chances of reflections. The multi coating is also water and oil repellent that allows to keep the filter free from spots and very easy to clean.
The excellent quality that distinguishes Hoya is all inside this circular polarizer, the use of HD Mk II CIR-PL is a great way to achieve better results in your photos and it allows to save time in Photoshop. Is certainly a product for an advanced and professional use. The overall extremely high quality of the filter makes it a perfect fit for advanced and professionals who want to achieve the highest standard in their images. I highly recommend this product for every landscape photographer that want to bring your photography to higher standards