polarising filter for dummy


No longer a newbie, moving up!
Aug 2, 2010
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Kingston, Ontario
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Hi all,

I just got a polarising filter for my birthday from my wife. As the title implies, I would be the dummy in question. I know some of the basics of what the polariser does(reduced glare/reflection, better skies..), but I haven't used one before. Are there any situations where the filter would be detrimental to the photo? Does anyone have any tips on getting the most out of this? I plan on playing around with it to get a feel for it, but any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
Light, reflecting off a non-metallic surface, takes on some polarization. You can rotate a polarizing filter until it cuts out most of the polarized light, allowing you to "see" past the glare or reflection that you would otherwise see. Fishermen use polarized lenses to see below the water surface to see the fish ( or think they see fish). Polarizers are useful for eliminating or minimizing glare off windows, shiny leaves, puddles and water surfaces...

Light in the sky is scattered, and tends to be maximally polarized about 90 degrees from the sun. So your polarizer, when aimed at that part of the sky, can make it look much darker than you see without the polarizer.

It's a neat tool. Happy exploring!
Another thing to consider is that it doesnt need to be sunny out to use one. If photographing in the rain, its an excellent tool for cutting glare and it doesnt matter where the sun is when you have cloud cover.
Have a look here and maybe this will give you some ideas and insight on what it can or can't do for you - Polarizer.

One area where I have used it quite successfully is in photographing rainbows - it seems to give me the ability to cut through the haze or moisture that is sometimes in the air after the storm passes and helps to darken up the colours that I see in my images. HTH.


Thank you all for the replies. WesternGuy, your link was good. Will the polariser reduce the amount of light coming in? Well, obviously I guess it will if it is reducing glare. But, how much? One stop? Or more? The metering shouldn't be affected as it will be seeing the scene through the filter and should adjust. By the way, the filter is a Hoya Pro1 Digital Circular PL. Does anyone know how many stops I'll lose if any?
Usually one loses 2 stops of light.
Feel free also to combine your filter with other filters too. I often combine the polariser with a graduated filter.

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