I love a good filter, whether it’s doing something fancy like extending your exposure or serving a purpose like a UV filter to protect the front element of your lens. One of my particular favourite filters is a Circular Polar. They serve a whole range of purposes which include helping to remove a shine from a surface like a glass cabinet (below) or to help pull some definition out in your landscape photographs.
The particular example, below, is from a recent and ongoing project photographing clouds but that’s a whole other series of posts.
You can buy ‘Polarising’ filters which serve the purpose of a Circular Polar filter when fully applied however I feel that the Circular variety allow for a lot more flexibility. The image on the left of the above pair is an example of a Circular Polar filter being rotated to a position where it is not serving a purpose. The clouds are softened and the blue of the sky is dulled slightly.
The example on the right of the above pair shows the filter fully rotated in to position. The clouds are more defined and the blue is a lot richer. The image ‘pops’ a lot more. The principle of a polarising filter could be compared to wearing a pair of sunglasses. Next time you are outside on a sunny day, try taking your sunglasses off and on repeatedly while looking at some clouds. You’ll notice a very similar affect to what we are doing here, but why do it?
In the image below I used a Circular Polar filter to add loads more drama to the sky while shooting this wedding. The results are superb!
As with many filters, the type you buy is crucial! Although cheap filters can be desirable if you’re on a tight budget, you can never replicate the capabilities that can be obtained by a more expensive ‘branded’ filter. I use a combination of Hoya and Cokin filters. Hoya for ‘screw-in’ filters such as UVs or Circular Polars and then the Cokin square system for Neutral Density and a whole host of others to be covered in future posts!