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Technique and Advice => Photography Technique => Topic started by: TWI by Dustin Abbott on March 26, 2014, 04:23:46 PM

Title: Reducing Glare/Reflections through a Circular Polarizer
Post by: TWI by Dustin Abbott on March 26, 2014, 04:23:46 PM
Here's a little technique article for those interested on utilizing a polarizer even in lower lighting conditions like indoor exhibits or (as the example photos in the article) an aquarium.

http://dustinabbott.net/2014/03/circular-polarizer-where/ (http://dustinabbott.net/2014/03/circular-polarizer-where/)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7432/13380493094_28403505bb_n.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/moowqN)

"...In the perfect world for photographers, it would always be “golden hour”.  The light would be soft and directional, making even mundane things appear rich and interesting.  But in the real world golden hour only comes (at best) twice a day, and often not at all.  Experienced photographers learn to use things like circular polarizers and ND (neutral density) filters to help control the light in less than ideal conditions.  These filters are particularly helpful when the light is more harsh and glaring.  I personally like to have a circular polarizer available for all my lenses.

But this little article isn’t about using a circular polarizer in a conventional way.

It’s about why I screw on a circular polarizer in a very dark place like interior spaces at zoos and, most recently, at an aquarium.  What?!!"
...to read more click the link above...
Title: Re: Reducing Glare/Reflections through a Circular Polarizer
Post by: Click on March 26, 2014, 04:28:56 PM
Very good information. Thanks for sharing Dustin.
Title: Re: Reducing Glare/Reflections through a Circular Polarizer
Post by: mackguyver on March 26, 2014, 04:36:25 PM
Nice article Dustin and it's pretty amazing what the combination of new technologies (high ISO bodies) and old ones (polarizers) can achieve in the right hands.  I liked the photos as well and think the jellyfish one turned out really well. 
Title: Re: Reducing Glare/Reflections through a Circular Polarizer
Post by: lintoni on March 26, 2014, 04:56:02 PM
Very good information. Thanks for sharing Dustin.
+1
Title: Re: Reducing Glare/Reflections through a Circular Polarizer
Post by: Vivid Color on March 26, 2014, 07:20:39 PM
Dustin,

Great idea and nicely written article. I'll have to try this the next time I'm at the national aquarium in Baltimore.

Would you mind posting the ISO, f-stop, and shutter speeds of some of the photos you took?

Thanks again!

Vivid
Title: Re: Reducing Glare/Reflections through a Circular Polarizer
Post by: Sanaraken on March 26, 2014, 08:07:06 PM
Good info. Thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: Reducing Glare/Reflections through a Circular Polarizer
Post by: verysimplejason on March 26, 2014, 08:13:37 PM
Thanks for the info Dustin.  I didn't think of using the polarizer before.   :(  I had difficulty shading the incoming light outside just to get this.  Off-topic, the current display from flickr changed and take sometime to getting used to.

(https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2877/10955316436_e2c3222f18.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7432/10955413694_2cd1ab72bc.jpg)
Title: Re: Reducing Glare/Reflections through a Circular Polarizer
Post by: hiZis on March 26, 2014, 10:55:41 PM
Was planing on doing just the same thing in a month in Beijing and/or Shanghai aquarium. But I have my doubts. CPL is effective in removing reflections when there is a nice angle between the camera and the glass. And even then it would not be a 100% result. Wouldn’t it be more efficient to lean the lens flat to the glass (or at a small angle with hand covering) and discard all reflections whatsoever and gain more than a stop of light?.. I guess I'll have to find out myself.
Title: Re: Reducing Glare/Reflections through a Circular Polarizer
Post by: verysimplejason on March 27, 2014, 04:59:07 AM
Was planing on doing just the same thing in a month in Beijing and/or Shanghai aquarium. But I have my doubts. CPL is effective in removing reflections when there is a nice angle between the camera and the glass. And even then it would not be a 100% result. Wouldn’t it be more efficient to lean the lens flat to the glass (or at a small angle with hand covering) and discard all reflections whatsoever and gain more than a stop of light?.. I guess I'll have to find out myself.

I've done those things but a polarizer might (I'll also do some tests) make it easier.  Sometimes, a wide angle causes distortion of the subject which you might not want.  A longer focal length + CPL + high ISO might do the work.
Title: Re: Reducing Glare/Reflections through a Circular Polarizer
Post by: TWI by Dustin Abbott on March 27, 2014, 10:14:54 AM
Very good information. Thanks for sharing Dustin.

My pleasure
Title: Re: Reducing Glare/Reflections through a Circular Polarizer
Post by: TWI by Dustin Abbott on March 27, 2014, 10:18:34 AM
Nice article Dustin and it's pretty amazing what the combination of new technologies (high ISO bodies) and old ones (polarizers) can achieve in the right hands.  I liked the photos as well and think the jellyfish one turned out really well.

The High ISO performance of this current generation is really pretty stunning.  If another stop or so can be gained in the MKIV of the 5D line or the 6DII, it really changes the game.  If you could treat ISO 12800 or even 25600 like you do 6400 now...wow!

The downside for the manufacturers is that photographer's need for primes is dropping.  A two lens kit of a couple f/2.8 zooms (particularly with stabilizers) really covers most every need.  Primes offer more creativity and flexibility with shallow DOF (and I love them), but I'm going out of the country to shoot a wedding next week and am only packing a 24-70 and 70-200 f/2.8 zooms.
Title: Re: Reducing Glare/Reflections through a Circular Polarizer
Post by: TWI by Dustin Abbott on March 27, 2014, 10:19:58 AM
Dustin,

Great idea and nicely written article. I'll have to try this the next time I'm at the national aquarium in Baltimore.

Would you mind posting the ISO, f-stop, and shutter speeds of some of the photos you took?

Thanks again!

Vivid

Most all of the shots are in the ISO 10K-12.8K range.  Shutter speed is typically around 1/100th second, and all of the shots are wide open in terms of aperture.  With the 70-300L, however, that means that at best it was usually f/5 and more typically f/5.6.
Title: Re: Reducing Glare/Reflections through a Circular Polarizer
Post by: TWI by Dustin Abbott on March 27, 2014, 10:23:31 AM
Was planing on doing just the same thing in a month in Beijing and/or Shanghai aquarium. But I have my doubts. CPL is effective in removing reflections when there is a nice angle between the camera and the glass. And even then it would not be a 100% result. Wouldn’t it be more efficient to lean the lens flat to the glass (or at a small angle with hand covering) and discard all reflections whatsoever and gain more than a stop of light?.. I guess I'll have to find out myself.

I've done those things but a polarizer might (I'll also do some tests) make it easier.  Sometimes, a wide angle causes distortion of the subject which you might not want.  A longer focal length + CPL + high ISO might do the work.

If you have opportunity to both have full access to the glass and you can frame your shot effectively that way, your technique should work.  The polarizer approach has the advantage that you don't have to wait for people to get out of the way, you can frame freely, and you can get your shots off faster.  The aquarium I was in was particularly busy, but I didn't really have an issue getting the shots I wanted.  In fact, I shot the lead image in the article of the stingray from a crowd during a "show".  I wasn't even close to being in the front of the crowd (for some crazy reason they don't want the 6+ foot tall guy standing in front of the kids.  Weird 8) )
Title: Re: Reducing Glare/Reflections through a Circular Polarizer
Post by: TWI by Dustin Abbott on March 27, 2014, 10:25:40 AM
Thanks for the info Dustin.  I didn't think of using the polarizer before.   :(  I had difficulty shading the incoming light outside just to get this.  Off-topic, the current display from flickr changed and take sometime to getting used to.

(https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2877/10955316436_e2c3222f18.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7432/10955413694_2cd1ab72bc.jpg)

These look nice.  I've been toggling back and forth between the two looks on Flickr for months, so I am pretty familiar with the interface already.  I like it for viewing and commenting, but finding some of the other functionality of Flickr is a little clunky.  They are definitely changing their focus.  I'm a little concerned about the death the Getty Images partnership with Flickr, too.  I liked the approach of Getty inviting images through Flickr rather than going through the work of submitting images directly that might not get accepted.
Title: Re: Reducing Glare/Reflections through a Circular Polarizer
Post by: mackguyver on March 27, 2014, 11:00:01 AM
Nice article Dustin and it's pretty amazing what the combination of new technologies (high ISO bodies) and old ones (polarizers) can achieve in the right hands.  I liked the photos as well and think the jellyfish one turned out really well.

The High ISO performance of this current generation is really pretty stunning.  If another stop or so can be gained in the MKIV of the 5D line or the 6DII, it really changes the game.  If you could treat ISO 12800 or even 25600 like you do 6400 now...wow!

The downside for the manufacturers is that photographer's need for primes is dropping.  A two lens kit of a couple f/2.8 zooms (particularly with stabilizers) really covers most every need.  Primes offer more creativity and flexibility with shallow DOF (and I love them), but I'm going out of the country to shoot a wedding next week and am only packing a 24-70 and 70-200 f/2.8 zooms.
I know and I hate to see the new lenses coming out with slower apertures because the shallow DOF is what makes [D]SLR photos so unique and different from compact cameras and phones.  I hope the camera companies realize that this is the one Me_Me_Me card that they will always hold over camera phones :).
Title: Re: Reducing Glare/Reflections through a Circular Polarizer
Post by: TWI by Dustin Abbott on March 27, 2014, 01:54:51 PM
Nice article Dustin and it's pretty amazing what the combination of new technologies (high ISO bodies) and old ones (polarizers) can achieve in the right hands.  I liked the photos as well and think the jellyfish one turned out really well.

The High ISO performance of this current generation is really pretty stunning.  If another stop or so can be gained in the MKIV of the 5D line or the 6DII, it really changes the game.  If you could treat ISO 12800 or even 25600 like you do 6400 now...wow!

The downside for the manufacturers is that photographer's need for primes is dropping.  A two lens kit of a couple f/2.8 zooms (particularly with stabilizers) really covers most every need.  Primes offer more creativity and flexibility with shallow DOF (and I love them), but I'm going out of the country to shoot a wedding next week and am only packing a 24-70 and 70-200 f/2.8 zooms.
I know and I hate to see the new lenses coming out with slower apertures because the shallow DOF is what makes [D]SLR photos so unique and different from compact cameras and phones.  I hope the camera companies realize that this is the one Me_Me_Me card that they will always hold over camera phones :).

I agree.  That being said, if a genuinely sharp wide open 50mm f/1.8 IS came to market (with the modern reduction in CA, etc...) along with curved aperture blades, I would take it over the 50mm f/1.4 all day.  I actually own the newer 35mm f/2 IS and it is a fantastic lens.  I rarely find myself wishing for a wider aperture as it is so completely usable wide open and the DOF is already pretty shallow.
Title: Re: Reducing Glare/Reflections through a Circular Polarizer
Post by: mackguyver on March 27, 2014, 03:30:08 PM
I agree.  That being said, if a genuinely sharp wide open 50mm f/1.8 IS came to market (with the modern reduction in CA, etc...) along with curved aperture blades, I would take it over the 50mm f/1.4 all day.  I actually own the newer 35mm f/2 IS and it is a fantastic lens.  I rarely find myself wishing for a wider aperture as it is so completely usable wide open and the DOF is already pretty shallow.
I would be interested in a 50 f/1.8 IS as well, but find that the 50L does extremely well at portraiture, which is what I use it for 95% of the time.  I have heard great things about the 35 f/2 IS and would definitely like to try one out.  As the only Canon IS lens under f/2.8 that costs less than $5k, it's always intrigued me.  Have you reviewed it or blogged about it on your site?  If not, I'm sure more than a few of us would be interested to read your take on the lens.  I don't think I've seen a real-world review of it by anyone - just the usual charts and graphs...
Title: Re: Reducing Glare/Reflections through a Circular Polarizer
Post by: TWI by Dustin Abbott on March 27, 2014, 04:39:13 PM
I agree.  That being said, if a genuinely sharp wide open 50mm f/1.8 IS came to market (with the modern reduction in CA, etc...) along with curved aperture blades, I would take it over the 50mm f/1.4 all day.  I actually own the newer 35mm f/2 IS and it is a fantastic lens.  I rarely find myself wishing for a wider aperture as it is so completely usable wide open and the DOF is already pretty shallow.
I would be interested in a 50 f/1.8 IS as well, but find that the 50L does extremely well at portraiture, which is what I use it for 95% of the time.  I have heard great things about the 35 f/2 IS and would definitely like to try one out.  As the only Canon IS lens under f/2.8 that costs less than $5k, it's always intrigued me.  Have you reviewed it or blogged about it on your site?  If not, I'm sure more than a few of us would be interested to read your take on the lens.  I don't think I've seen a real-world review of it by anyone - just the usual charts and graphs...

I've got the review about 85% done, but it's been on the back burner recently.  I need to get it done!
Title: Re: Reducing Glare/Reflections through a Circular Polarizer
Post by: mackguyver on March 27, 2014, 08:30:15 PM
I agree.  That being said, if a genuinely sharp wide open 50mm f/1.8 IS came to market (with the modern reduction in CA, etc...) along with curved aperture blades, I would take it over the 50mm f/1.4 all day.  I actually own the newer 35mm f/2 IS and it is a fantastic lens.  I rarely find myself wishing for a wider aperture as it is so completely usable wide open and the DOF is already pretty shallow.
I would be interested in a 50 f/1.8 IS as well, but find that the 50L does extremely well at portraiture, which is what I use it for 95% of the time.  I have heard great things about the 35 f/2 IS and would definitely like to try one out.  As the only Canon IS lens under f/2.8 that costs less than $5k, it's always intrigued me.  Have you reviewed it or blogged about it on your site?  If not, I'm sure more than a few of us would be interested to read your take on the lens.  I don't think I've seen a real-world review of it by anyone - just the usual charts and graphs...

I've got the review about 85% done, but it's been on the back burner recently.  I need to get it done!
I completely understand - I have a number of things I've promised people here and elsewhere, but we'll eventually get to them.  I look forward to reading your review when you complete it :)
Title: Re: Reducing Glare/Reflections through a Circular Polarizer
Post by: Vivid Color on March 29, 2014, 10:40:39 AM
Dustin,

Great idea and nicely written article. I'll have to try this the next time I'm at the national aquarium in Baltimore.

Would you mind posting the ISO, f-stop, and shutter speeds of some of the photos you took?

Thanks again!

Vivid

Most all of the shots are in the ISO 10K-12.8K range.  Shutter speed is typically around 1/100th second, and all of the shots are wide open in terms of aperture.  With the 70-300L, however, that means that at best it was usually f/5 and more typically f/5.6.

Thank you, Dustin!
Title: Re: Reducing Glare/Reflections through a Circular Polarizer
Post by: TWI by Dustin Abbott on March 29, 2014, 10:42:21 AM
Dustin,

Great idea and nicely written article. I'll have to try this the next time I'm at the national aquarium in Baltimore.

Would you mind posting the ISO, f-stop, and shutter speeds of some of the photos you took?

Thanks again!

Vivid

Most all of the shots are in the ISO 10K-12.8K range.  Shutter speed is typically around 1/100th second, and all of the shots are wide open in terms of aperture.  With the 70-300L, however, that means that at best it was usually f/5 and more typically f/5.6.

Thank you, Dustin!

No problem.  The great high ISO performance of the 6D makes the 70-300L a viable option in what would have previously been unfavorable conditions.