Polarized, Part II

Last week, I tried out a circular polarizer filter, and saw a tremendous difference in the pictures that were taken in bright sun conditions, especially where water was concerned. But I also noticed that the output was not especially sharp.

So, I  plopped down $25 for an upgraded filter, which arrived on Thursday. The new filter produces nice, sharp results – and again, shows a remarkable difference when taking a picture of pond life on a sunny day:

Water lily, without filter

Without the filter

Water lily, with filter

With the filter

Based on what I had read, I believed that it should also work when taking pictures of items in a window. I didn’t see any difference on my first try, so I came home and started googling… and learned from cameratechnica.com that the camera needed to be at a 34 degree angle to the glass in order to get the best glare reduction. In my limited trial – the 2nd attempt – the results were noticeable, but not perfect. It may have had something to do with my side-to-side angle to the glass:

Shop window with filter

Without the filter

Shop window with filter

With the filter

Additional reading on CPL filters led me to experiment with long distance shots on a sunny / slightly hazy day. Big difference! The polarizing filter gives much more detail in the distance:

Ithaca College

Without filter

Ithaca College

Ithaca College from Sunset Park, with filter

 Lesson learned: keep the filter close at hand on a sunny day!



  1. CPL filters are great to use. Keep in mind the angle to the light source. They are much more effective at a 90 degree angle. They also cut down the amount of light which is very handy on bright, sunny days as you found out. Wait until this autumn when the Sun angle is lower in the sky. They you’ll really see a difference. Another good use of CPL’s is when something is covered in water like leafs or flowers in the morning or after a rain. Cuts out the glare considerably.

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