Yesterday I shared a few tips I’ve found about using a Variable Neutral Density Filter. While I continue to wait for my new filters to find their way into my hands I’ll continue on with this collection of tips. Today I’ll share tips that I have found on using and getting the most out of a Circular Polarizing Filter.
You would use a Circular Polarizing Filter to to control the amount of scattered light across your lens when shooting in that bright summer sun. This filter will help with the contrast of those puffy white clouds against a hazy blue sky; those clouds will practically pop out of the image. It’s also a great way to rid your image of glare on the water, glass, or other shiny surfaces. Again it’s like a good pair of sunglasses.
Have you ever tried to capture an image of gold fish in a garden pond; only to end up with an image of glare on the water and a few blurred gold spots? A CPL Filter can help with that. Try that image again with this filter on and you will rid your self of that glare and actually be able to see those golden swimmers!
Here’s just some of the tips I’ve collected on using this awesome filter:
- This filter works best at a 90 degree angle from the sun. Make an L shape with your thumb and first finger, point your finger at the sun and you’ll know that where your thumb can rotate to point to is the correct place to point your lens with a polarizer attached. You can change this a little bit, but if you go too far away from 90 degrees it will not accomplish very much towards improving your image.
- Take off your polarizing filter for sunsets. It won’t saturate the colors, it will just cause lens flare and ruin your image.
- The front element of this filter will need to be rotated to control the strength of the effect. Look in your viewfinder and spin the front element until you see effect you’re looking for. It can be very easy to go to far and end up with really fake looking, overly dark blue skies. I can even go so far as to make a sky nearly black.
- A CPL filter tends to change the exposure needed for an image. Keep in mind that it’s a lot like that pair of sunglasses; darker than your clear lenses. This makes it so that less light gets through to your camera’s sensor and you will need to adjust accordingly; either with a slower shutter speed, larger aperture, or higher ISO.
- If your image shows an uneven darkness in the sky, while shooting with a Polarizing filter on your lens, you may just simply need to turn a bit more away from the sun. This should help even out those blues and give you a much more natural looking sky.
- As with the VND filter you may need to adjust your white balance so take a good look at your first image just to see if you need to adjust that before your next shot.
- These filters can also fool your camera’s metering system and cause it to over compensate; you might just need to adjust your exposure compensation by -2/3 or more. Again a little trial and error learning curve as you see how it works with your lens and your camera.
- And one last thought on both of these filters; watch out for excessive vignetting at wide angles. You might need to reel it in a bit.
Now to get those new filters in my hands and test out all this new found information!!
Hopefully I’ll have some images to share next week.