Polarizer or No Polarizer

There is a pond in front of the place where I work and there are trees along it that get some fall color. I have been trying to remember to get down there with a camera in front of the pond and get the reflections of the trees in the pond. The trees are a bit past peak now as fall came earlier this year than last. Some years, the trees are still shedding on Christmas, but this year they got most of that out of the way early.

I took some photos anyway as the water was calm and I got some decent reflections. I wanted to do this in the morning as the sun rises over my left shoulder from this location and I wanted it on the trees rather than behind them in the afternoon. This gives me a composition that is bright on one side and dark on the other with the edge of the pond leading into the distance. I just need a deer on the edge of the water having a drink.

I also experimented with a polarizer to see what that would do for me. The first photo below is without a polarizer.

Nikon D750 + 16-35mm, f/4; 19mm, f/13, 1/60s, ISO100

The next photo is with a polarizer set to full polarization. Both photos have the same processing in Lightroom for comparison.

Nikon D750 + 16-35mm, f/4; 19mm, f/13, 1/80s, ISO100

I think if I had been at more of a 90 degree angle to the sun, the sky would have turned out better with the polarizer. As it is in this image, there is not much effect in most of the sky and the horizon is brighter.

Another thing it affected was the foreground reflection in the water. The pond goes to dark and you can actually see through some of the water.

This is probably not a situation that benefited much from a polarizer. I would take the image without the polarizer. Now if I could get some decent clouds.

4 thoughts on “Polarizer or No Polarizer

  1. I can never work out which situations would benefit from a polarizer. The one case that I’ve found so far where they really work is of pictures of snowy mountains & blue skies. All the colours seem more intense and everything seems clearer in this case. I’ve also found them useful for reflections like the ones above but it’s a bit more hit or miss.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I have never had much remarkable success with a polarizer. I have tried to remember to use it, but it is another thing that I have to carry in my bag and put on my lens.

      Also, at ultra-wide angles, like I often shoot, the filter can lead to a lot of vignetting.

      I am going camping out at Big Bend next week and I will do some experimenting there. There is also supposed to be a meteor shower and no moon, so maybe I will get some some nice meteor shots.


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