The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Aug. 8, 2022

Polarizing filter series, part III (final)

The Van Wert Area Photography Club’s next meeting will be Thursday, June 8, at 7 p.m. at 114 S. Race St.  A possible photo tour will be one of the discussion topics.

Today’s article will end our discussion of the polarizing filter with information on its use and situations to avoid. The filter will not work in all situations.

A typical polarizing filter.
A typical polarizing filter.

Start by pointing to the sun with your index finger. Now raise your thumb to form an L. As you rotate your wrist left or right while pointing to the sun, your thumb will indicate the area where the filter will be most effective. That means that when the sun is at its highest, the sky will be polarized horizontally, making the sky appear even in all directions with the polarizing filter!

The good news is that you can use your wide angle lens and get an improved sky, but at the expense of  loosing the effects shadows. The filter will not be useful if you have your face or back to the sun.

If the wide angle lens is used near sunrise or sunset when the sky is polarized vertically, will likely produce a sky that is light on one or two sides, but fades darker in the middle or at the side of the scene. Another thing to watch for when using a wide angle lens is vignetting (the filter blocks the light at the corners of the picture). This can be overcome with a step-up ring and a larger diameter filter.

On any lens, it might reduce exposure 1-3 stops (depending on the expert talking).  This would mean you will need to slow the shutter speed, open the lens, or raise the ISO setting to achieve a proper exposure.  For any of these reasons, it maybe counterproductive to use it in low light, with an overcast sky, or at night.

NOW I’m confident you have all the information you need to go shopping for that polarizing filter. Good luck!

POSTED: 05/25/17 at 2:40 pm. FILED UNDER: Camera Club News