What do po­lar­is­ing fil­ters do?

Digital Photo (UK) - - PHOTO Q+A -

QI’m in­ter­ested in ad­vanc­ing my photography skills by us­ing lens fil­ters to cre­ate dif­fer­ent ef­fects. I’ve heard of po­laris­ers but I’m not sure if this is what I am af­ter. What do they do and should I get one? He­len Scaife

Matty says Us­ing lens fil­ters is a su­perb way of ex­pand­ing your cre­ativ­ity, and po­laris­ers can cre­ate ef­fects that can’t be repli­cated in Pho­to­shop. Once at­tached to the front of a lens they boost colour sat­u­ra­tion and re­duce re­flec­tions, mak­ing them great for a wide range of sub­jects in­clud­ing land­scapes, coastal scenes and city shots.

There are two types of po­lariser avail­able, cir­cu­lar and lin­ear, but the cir­cu­lar va­ri­ety is the only one of use to pho­tog­ra­phers. They screw into the front of your lens and fil­ter out sun­light re­flected at cer­tain an­gles. Cut­ting out this light of­ten makes for much bet­ter im­ages. The ef­fect is con­trolled by ro­tat­ing the front el­e­ment of the fil­ter, and its strength is rel­a­tive to the an­gle of the sun com­pared to your cam­era.

With a po­lar­is­ing fil­ter you can make wa­ter ap­pear more clear, the sky look more blue and clouds more de­fined by re­duc­ing glare. Veg­e­ta­tion also ap­pears more green and ver­dant, and you can even shoot through glass with­out wor­ry­ing about re­flec­tions. This makes these lenses in­valu­able pieces of kit ca­pa­ble of trans­form­ing your photography.

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