POLARIZER PROBLEM: PART 2

August 06, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

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Last blog post we looked at a problem I recently stumbled upon when photographing a waterfall and stream and what I did to correct it.  If you didn't read it and are interested click HERE.  This post we are going to look at another common problem when using circular polarizers on a wide angle lens.  Most of the time I don't use a circular polarizer on a wide angle lens unless there is little sky in the image.  Let's take a look at a situation where I wanted to use a wide angle lens and a circular polarizer and see what happens.

THE PROBLEM

Below is a scene I ran came upon while visiting the coast.  This is the image without using a polarizer.  The sun had just risen to the left and was 90 degrees to the scene making this a perfect candidate for using a polarizer.  While normally I do not use a polarizer when photographing with a wide angle, I wanted to cut down on the glare in the water.  The problem is that there is a large portion of blue sky present in the image.  

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Original image without polarization

When using a wide angle lens and a polarizer at full effect you end up with an artifact that is hard to correct in post processing. The polarizer helped to remove the glare from the water but also created the dreaded "UFO" splotch in the sky.  

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Full effect of polarizer creates blue oblong artifact in sky  

THESOLUTION

Easy!  I simply backed off the polarizer effect by turning the polarizer until some of the glare was removed from the water while also removing the dreaded blue "UFO" from the sky!  No more alien invasion!

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Reduced effect of polarizer removes some glare off of water while not producing artifact in sky


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Final image 

Remember that you don't have to use the full effect of a polarizer everytime.  You can change the amount of polarization by turing the polarizer until you get just the right amount you need for the scene.  A circular polarizer is a great tool and definately should be in your camera bag if you are a landscape photographer!  But just like any tool it can have negative effects.  Just be aware of them and you will get the image you envisioned.  

Explore | Compose | Capture | Publish


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