This Article was written by Cecilia Ocean, a Gobe customer. She sent us this article after discovering how CPL filters changed her photography.
If you are an outdoor photographer, and shoot specially landscapes, a CPL filter (circular polarized) will help you get the best shot. You can create effects that you can’t get with any other filter. It is important to keep in mind that such effect can’t be simulated in post production; you can simulate an ND filter, but not a polarized one.
Now, first we need to know what a polarizing filter does:
– Gives more colour saturation. Improving the colour depth and increasing clarity. This gives the landscape more drama and makes it more interesting.
– Cuts down reflections, allowing you to get the detail that the reflection was making invisible. Which is impossible to simulate in post production.
– Reduces haze
How to use a CPL filter when shooting blue skies:
– Make sure that both the filter and lens are clean. There is nothing worse than taking an amazing shot and realizing in post processing that there was dust in the lens or filter.
– Place yourself pointing at 90º from the sun. The CPL Filter won’t work if you are shooting directly into the sun or directly against the sun!
– Rotate the front ring of the CPL Filter until you get the amount of polarization you are looking for. You can see this in the viewfinder and you can stop polarizing when the sky reaches the shade of blue you’re looking for.
– Take various shots with different levels of polarization, so you have various options in post processing.
– If you overpolarize a shot and the sky turns almost black (like on the example above) DON’T PANIC! You can always rotate the filter back and reduce the polarization.
How to use a CPL Filter when there is no sun
– You don’t need to worry about the Sun here, so it doesn’t matter if you shoot directly into it. The clouds will block the Sun and defuse it’s light, making shadows softer.
– Use a CPL Filter to get rid of the reflections that the water causes in vegetation and rocks by rotating the front ring. This will give you a whole new level of detail that was hidden underneath the reflections. You won’t be able to create this effect without a CPL.
– By eliminating the reflections in the water, so you can see everything that is underwater. (see example above)
A CPL will change the way you shoot and the results you get in the outdoors. You will hardly ever take the CPL off your lens!