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Old Jun 3, 2011, 8:44 AM   #1
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Default Polarizer - Leaves In the Rain

This is a great topic, polarizers and how to shoot them is both fun and frustrating at the same time. I haven't used mine to any real effect in a long time, and the most recent time I thought about it (a week ago) everything I knew about using one went out of my head and of course, I was disappointed.

Having this as the bi-weekly topic got me to start thinking of such things again and I thought I'd post these archive shots.

I've tried shooting an old linear polarizer on a modern dSLR and found a couple of things. First, it does interfere with the AF mechanism, but inconsistently - while I could sometimes get a focus lock, I often couldn't. When I switched to a manual focus lens I found that the linear polarizer would confuse the metering system and I'd often get overexposed shots, something to watch out for if you decide to try it. In the end, it was too much bother and I decided to buy a circular polarizer.

The day it arrived was rainy, not exactly weather most people think of for using a polarizer. But knowing that one of its effects is supposed to be cutting down on reflections, I went outside and played with it.

First, without the polarizer:



Notice the leaves are kind-of waxy and reflect a lot of light.

Now, with the polarizer rotated to its maximum effect:



Notice how the leaves aren't reflecting as much light. The green is more saturated, it's not as diluted by the reflected grey skylight. There's still reflections in the water drops though.
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Old Jun 3, 2011, 8:23 PM   #2
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This is good work, mtngal

It shows the difference a polariser can make in the 'less common' settings too!

Your photos here illustrate the colour / saturation and reflection differences a CPL can make.

I've found that particularly when focussing macros with my Canon 350D in poor light, a CPL does affect the focus (to the detriment) a bit (not as quick, sometimes hunts). I usually give up on the outer points on the 350D. My 7D's AF is much better generally, including all the points and using a CPL doesn't affect AF macros in dim light nearly so much.

Paul
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Old Jun 3, 2011, 10:32 PM   #3
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These two shots were taken with my manual focus macro lens, I rarely use AF when shooting macro, with or without using a CPL.

While I find the CPL is more reliable for AF than a linear polarizer, it will affect AF in lower contrast conditions. It doesn't fool the exposure meter in the same way.
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Old Jun 3, 2011, 11:29 PM   #4
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I love the way the polarizer enhances the green of the leaves. I discovered this effect a few years ago but haven't done much with it.

Cal
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Old Jun 4, 2011, 6:20 PM   #5
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I'm not sure I prefer the polarized image. I like the contrast and dynamic range of the first, but this is a first impression.. I'll go back and looks a few more times.
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Old Jun 6, 2011, 7:36 PM   #6
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hmmm, I still prefer the first (unpolarized) image. This is tricky. Polarization can do a lot but is it needed for the shot in front of me? Can I accomplish mostly the same effect in post processing? All is grist for the mill...
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Old Jun 11, 2011, 7:42 AM   #7
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Like Bobbert, I prefer the unpolarized image. For some reason the polarized image makes the yellow pop.
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