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Author Topic: No polarizing filter landscape technique!  (Read 36240 times)
nikonjim
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« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2007, 01:31:44 PM »
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The amount of overall darkening of the sky is somewhat controllable by the setting on the filter.  The thing I don't like about PFs is that on wide angle shots their effect isn't uniform across the entire scene.  They will darken part of the sky more on one "side" of the scene than on the other because the illumination angles are different on the two sides.  Still, I agree that the effect is sometimes overdone.

I prefer neutral density filters, if I can make one work, because their effect on sky is uniform.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2007, 01:38:31 PM by nikonjim » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2007, 02:48:45 PM »
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I find PFs very nice if used on shots that can make best use of them: I have tried but long ruled out any use of them on people because the skin goes a hellish brick-like colour where tan used to be... most unflattering.

There is indeed a problem with wide lenses and another thing, which conflicts with theory, is the use of a PF with the sun directly behind the camera: I do find it still does well in bringing out sky/cloud contrast.

Rob C
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photocase
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« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2008, 04:04:20 PM »
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I came across this thread and I'd like to resurrect it, since this has been a topic on my mind today after spending close to 300 bones on polarizing filters for 2 lenses just last night. I got to thinking today that it's a waste, since most of the functions I need a polarizer for I can do in Photoshop, as Ray so aptly pointed out. Except for seeing through reflections on water (sometimes), I can't think of much that a landscape photographer absolutely needs a polarizer for these days, if they have any proficiency and comfort with Photoshop. Seems like I'm better off using that money for an upgrade to CS3, or to buy Lightroom

Does anyone else have any further thoughts or experience in this?
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2008, 04:40:06 PM »
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I came across this thread and I'd like to resurrect it, since this has been a topic on my mind today after spending close to 300 bones on polarizing filters for 2 lenses just last night. I got to thinking today that it's a waste, since most of the functions I need a polarizer for I can do in Photoshop, as Ray so aptly pointed out.

Or not-so-aptly. You can boost saturation in PS or selectively brighten/datken a color range, but there is no practical way to reduce reflections off leaves and other surfaces in PS. The best way by far is to use a polarizer. The saturation boost a polarizer offers is gained by reducing or eliminating veiling glare off leaves or water or glass. With a polarizer, you can also selectively reduce the brightness of specular highlights. This means you can increase the exposure of the rest of the scene safely, and have less specular clipping to worry about.
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Rob C
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« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2008, 10:18:30 AM »
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Or not-so-aptly. You can boost saturation in PS or selectively brighten/datken a color range, but there is no practical way to reduce reflections off leaves and other surfaces in PS. The best way by far is to use a polarizer. The saturation boost a polarizer offers is gained by reducing or eliminating veiling glare off leaves or water or glass. With a polarizer, you can also selectively reduce the brightness of specular highlights. This means you can increase the exposure of the rest of the scene safely, and have less specular clipping to worry about.
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Jonathan

I think you are treading very close to the edge, that edge over which the slightest step will invite a non-stop series of contradictory replies.

I have noted over a period that there is a breed of photographer about which is hell-bent on abandoning those tools which have worked well, both practically and theoretically, in favour of short-cuts or make-do methods. One such that comes to mind is the belief that some camera movements - even TS lenses - are obsolete because a method of approximating their solution to problems, as with converging verticals, can be found in Photoshop manipulation. That an approximate solution is not the same thing as a proper solution seems to matter less and less in some quarters.

This surprises me somewhat. Considering the high cost of such lenses, it would seem unlikely that lens manufacturers would continue making - even introduce - new objectives in this style if the knowledgeable  target market really imagined them to be superfluous. But, the belief seems to thrive, even amongst some self-styled professionals.

Health warning - my own: do not become embroiled in argument on this matter!

Rob C
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2008, 10:39:59 AM »
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Jonathan

I think you are treading very close to the edge, that edge over which the slightest step will invite a non-stop series of contradictory replies.

It wouldn't be the first time I've weighed in on a controversial topic....
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mahleu
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« Reply #26 on: February 12, 2008, 11:08:09 AM »
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Where I live we get directly overhead sun at midday in summer. Polarisers are just one way we try to deal with this incredibly harsh light and excessive contrast.
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photocase
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« Reply #27 on: February 13, 2008, 10:38:27 AM »
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I have noted over a period that there is a breed of photographer about which is hell-bent on abandoning those tools which have worked well, both practically and theoretically, in favour of short-cuts or make-do methods.
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Rob, you might want to check out my other postings: "TS lenses, who needs 'em?" and "what's the use of a tripod anyway?" LOL.

As for myself, I am not one of those photographers hell-bent on abandoning tools which have worked well. I cut my teeth in the world of film and darkrooms, and have thousands of transparencies in my files, so I feel well versed in the world of traditional photographic tools. I'm just opening up a topic that's on my mind right now, and putting my brain on loudspeaker. I appreciate the contribution of Jonathan and others, that's why I'm throwing it out there. I believe rules are meant to be re-examined every so often. If the mighty PF is truly a worthy tool for today's PS savvy photographer then I am confident it will emerge from our humble discussion unscathed.

Back to the subject at hand. I would say in the arena of increasing contrast in the sky and bringing out detail, it's mostly a matter of choice, NOT necessity to use a PF. For reflections, If the subject is not close enough that I want to see into the detail of it, as in wet foliage in the distance of a scene, then the resulting need is to simply increase saturation and control contrast, two things that can be done with great fidelity in PS. Is there a noticeable difference in that approach vs. a polarizer? I don't honestly know. I may need to test that out. I understand what Jonathan is saying about specular highlights, to a point, depending on what angle the light is coming from. But again, are they something I need to see more detail in? A good range of contrast in a photo includes areas too light or dark to see detail in, as we all know.

And let's face it, if your having lots of trouble with glare washing out the color in your shots there's one very old-school approach that works best; shoot near the hours of sunrise or sunset.  I know,  in the real world that's not always possible or practical, but you've got to admit, the need and desire to slap a polarizer on your lens goes way, way down when you catch a scene in the best possible light to begin with.
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larsrc
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« Reply #28 on: February 14, 2008, 10:14:15 AM »
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I came across this thread and I'd like to resurrect it, since this has been a topic on my mind today after spending close to 300 bones on polarizing filters for 2 lenses just last night. I got to thinking today that it's a waste, since most of the functions I need a polarizer for I can do in Photoshop, as Ray so aptly pointed out. Except for seeing through reflections on water (sometimes), I can't think of much that a landscape photographer absolutely needs a polarizer for these days, if they have any proficiency and comfort with Photoshop. Seems like I'm better off using that money for an upgrade to CS3, or to buy Lightroom

Does anyone else have any further thoughts or experience in this?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=174053\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Yes, you can do it in Photoshop, just like you can anything that camera hardware does for you, question is where do you get the best result for the least effort?  Starting out with an image that has near-burned-out skies or the ground in deep shadow can easily end up with poor tonality, extra noise and noticable edge errors if you have to process it too much. There's of course nobody stopping you from setting each pixel the way to want it to be, but by then the PF is probably easier.

Despite what the original poster said, a PF can help you make the scene look more like what you saw by compressing the contrast that the eye handles better than the camera.  That a lot of photographers have abused it to make oversaturated skies is hardly the fault of the PF.

-Lars
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lavee
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« Reply #29 on: February 21, 2008, 12:02:48 PM »
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Hello,
   I am novus in photography.  I want to find the right lenses  to take photos of landscape. I would like reply.  Thanks.
LaVee
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larsrc
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« Reply #30 on: February 22, 2008, 12:21:19 PM »
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Hello,
   I am novus in photography.  I want to find the right lenses  to take photos of landscape. I would like reply.  Thanks.
LaVee
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LaVee, please go to the Beginner's Question area of this board and ask you question there, ideally with some indication of what kinds of landscapes you want to take, what system you use, and what your budget is.

-Lars
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Misirlou
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« Reply #31 on: February 22, 2008, 01:49:54 PM »
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A lot depends on your location and altitude. Here in New Mexico, there are days when the sky looks polarized all by itself. The air is so dry and thin that light just doesn't get scattered much by the atmosphere. If you look straight up, the sky appears to be a dark blue/purple hue. Completely different feel than, say, Misissippi in the summer.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #32 on: February 25, 2008, 11:19:57 AM »
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Yes, you can do it in Photoshop, just like you can anything that camera hardware does for you, question is where do you get the best result for the least effort?  Starting out with an image that has near-burned-out skies or the ground in deep shadow can easily end up with poor tonality, extra noise and noticable edge errors if you have to process it too much. There's of course nobody stopping you from setting each pixel the way to want it to be, but by then the PF is probably easier.

PS isn't even close. No PS technique can eliminate the reflection off the surface of water so you can see the fish underneath, or cut down specular relfections off leaves so you can safely increase exposure without frying specular highlights. A polarizer will save you a lot of time in such cases, and deliver far better results.
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