Monday, October 15, 2012

Using a polarizing filter to control glare

The most common uses for a polarizing filter are to darken a blue sky and eliminate reflections.  There is another application that may be even more useful to enhance your subject by eliminating glare.

The photo below was taken on a sunny autumn day shooting against the light such that the sun caused severe glare in the pumpkins.  The glare was so intense that it washed out  detail and color from the highlighted areas.  A polarizing filer mounted on the lens eliminated the glare and brought back the intensity of the color, something very important in a subject such as this.

Strong back light from the sun caused the highlights to lose all detail and color.

A polarizing filter was added to the lens and turned until the glare disappeared and color was restored to the blown out areas.

The same thing is happening to the blown out highlights of this corn.
Applying a polarizing filter eliminated the highlights and restored the color.
Here is a technique for dealing with glare when you do not have a polarizing filter handy.  For this shot I chose a wide open aperture to add a strong out of focus effect by blurring the highlights.  Later in post-processing the image I added a yellow warmth to the scene that gave it more of a sunset look.  Frankly, I prefer this interpretation better than the polarized version.

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