Po­lar­ize your sky

En­hance colour and boost con­trast in drab skies

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Whether or not you’re into me­te­o­rol­ogy, learn­ing how to pho­to­graph clouds will im­prove your land­scape pho­tog­ra­phy no end. The ma­jor­ity of land­scape pho­tographs have sky in them, so why not use a fil­ter to im­prove the tone, de­tail and con­trast? Gone are the days of yel­low and red fil­ters on the ends of our lenses – used to darken blue skies on black-and-white film – as we can eas­ily em­u­late these op­tions in-cam­era. In terms of phys­i­cal fil­ters, how­ever, the po­lar­izer is one of only a few left in the dig­i­tal age that can­not be re­pro­duced in-cam­era or on a com­puter.

Po­lar­iz­ers work by fil­ter­ing light re­flected at cer­tain an­gles, let­ting light pass through the lens in some direc­tions while block­ing oth­ers. This means when you’re shoot­ing wa­ter, glass or up at the sky, turn­ing the po­lar­izer to its max­i­mum strength will re­duce glare. It also in­creases con­trast and nat­u­rally boosts colours. But it isn’t as easy as pop­ping it on and hav­ing a spin, so here we show you how to use your po­lar­iz­ing fil­ter to its fullest.

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