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Author Topic: Circular Polarizer on Wide Angle Lens  (Read 13183 times)
Goodlistener
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« on: December 29, 2008, 09:32:47 PM »
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Can the members look at these photos and suggest a solution to me?  The problem is that there is differing amounts of polarization in the sky on some shots.

Equiment wise - I am using a circular polarizer on a wide angle lens (Canon 16-35 L Series 77mm filter size) at focal lengths of anywhere from 23 to 35mm.  The camera is a Canon model with a 1.6X crop factor - Digital Rebel XTi at 10 MP.  The problem shows very strongly at 23mm focal length. you will notice it most strongly on the right side here.

Is the bottom line on this one that I just can't use a polarizer when the wide angle is so much?  How do other landscape photographers handle this?  

[attachment=10608:20081229...SmallJPG.jpg]


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Panopeeper
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« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2008, 10:33:07 PM »
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Quote from: Goodlistener
Is the bottom line on this one that I just can't use a polarizer when the wide angle is so much?
Exactly.

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How do other landscape photographers handle this?
You can often read, that there is no substitute for the polar filter. This is true regarding its function of eliminating reflections, but simply the darkening can often be substituted by Photoshop.

I am selecting the sky and applying a curve, which is good for the contrast on clouds as well. Sometimes I change the color as well; in other cases I develop a different version from the same raw file, adjusted for the sky. This can be a very tedious process, and if there are fine structures, like thin, dense branches, leaves, then it does not work.

Example if I had developed the raw for the sky, then the rest would have become too dark.

I admit even to planting some "stock sky" sometimes, but that's not easy; the planted sky has to closely resemble the original at the intersections with the background. Moreover, it can cause an impression of "unnaturel" (what a surprize), for example because of incorrect shading. In one case I was looking at the result for a while; I did not like it, but I did not know why. Finally, I found it: the clouds' reflections in a small pod contradicted the planted sky.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2008, 10:33:34 PM by Panopeeper » Logged

Gabor
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« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2008, 07:33:16 AM »
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Quote from: Goodlistener
Can the members look at these photos and suggest a solution to me?  The problem is that there is differing amounts of polarization in the sky on some shots.

Equiment wise - I am using a circular polarizer on a wide angle lens (Canon 16-35 L Series 77mm filter size) at focal lengths of anywhere from 23 to 35mm.  The camera is a Canon model with a 1.6X crop factor - Digital Rebel XTi at 10 MP.  The problem shows very strongly at 23mm focal length. you will notice it most strongly on the right side here.

Is the bottom line on this one that I just can't use a polarizer when the wide angle is so much?  How do other landscape photographers handle this?  

[attachment=10608:20081229...SmallJPG.jpg]
One option is to take several exposures, with the camera on a tripod, and slightly turn the polarizer with each shot to get the maximum polarization across the sky. Once you have the photos in Photoshop layer them one on top of another and select darken from the drop down blending option for each layer. This technique works better when there is no wind to blow foliage around.
Dan
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Curt
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« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2008, 02:21:53 PM »
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Quote from: Goodlistener
Can the members look at these photos and suggest a solution to me?  The problem is that there is differing amounts of polarization in the sky on some shots.

Equiment wise - I am using a circular polarizer on a wide angle lens (Canon 16-35 L Series 77mm filter size) at focal lengths of anywhere from 23 to 35mm.  The camera is a Canon model with a 1.6X crop factor - Digital Rebel XTi at 10 MP.  The problem shows very strongly at 23mm focal length. you will notice it most strongly on the right side here.

Is the bottom line on this one that I just can't use a polarizer when the wide angle is so much?  How do other landscape photographers handle this?  

[attachment=10608:20081229...SmallJPG.jpg]
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Curt
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« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2008, 02:26:08 PM »
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It's not your fault. A polarizer is most effective at right angles to the sun. When used on a very wide lens the angle of coverage is greater than the tolerance allowable to a right angle.
This does not rule out a PF with wide angle lenses as a polarizer is very effective at eliminating the reflections from foilage & water which otherwise reduce colors.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2008, 05:30:07 PM »
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Quote from: Goodlistener
... How do other landscape photographers handle this?

One possible solution is to use a polarizer not at full strength, but somewhere in between the effect being too visible and the transition to the less polarized parts of the sky being invisible.
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« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2008, 06:09:31 PM »
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If I use a polarizing filter on a wideangle shot where I'm concerned about uneven skies, I'll sometimes "bracket" different strengths of polarization, from strong to weak or none. For some reason it can be really hard to judge how much is "too much" when shooting, so leaving the decision until image review can be beneficial. Plus, this also gives me the option of using tone-mapping or exposure blending (eg TuFuse) to even out the sky and still get a nicer effect than with no polarization at all.
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mikev1
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« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2009, 12:24:38 AM »
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I'm off the opinion that a polarizer is often a big hassle when using a wide angle lens.  I try to avoid it when ever possible.  The previous suggestions to bracket are good ones.  Depending on your subject matter and angle to the sun you might not need to  even have one one your lens.

I've ruined too many days shooting by just blindly leaving my polarizer on.  Though that is my problem and not the polarizer's.

Mike
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NikoJorj
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« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2009, 07:52:48 AM »
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Quote from: Goodlistener
Is the bottom line on this one that I just can't use a polarizer when the wide angle is so much?
I second this opinion too.
A polarizer is invaluable for cutting reflections from "glassy" surfaces such as water or foliage - that can't be done in processing.
But for skies, (unless there is a &$@! lot of haze and/or high cirrus) it is much simpler AND much more efficient to go to the HSL tab of ACR or LR, set it to luminance and pull the blue slider to the left. Various equivalent methods should exist in any good image processing software : basically, select the blue pixels and decrease their luminance.
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Nicolas from Grenoble
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« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2009, 11:12:37 PM »
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I've mostly ditched polarizers on ultra-wides unless I'm shooting a scene without any sky for the very reason shown in your photo. I use the same method that Nicolas describes of adjusting the Luminance slider on the HSL tab in ACR for darkening the sky.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2009, 11:13:27 PM by Adam Schallau » Logged

Adam Schallau
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Wayne Stevenson
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« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2009, 06:56:07 PM »
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I would pop a grad-blue on front. Should give you favorable results next time shooting that wide.
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apq65
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« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2009, 03:43:11 PM »
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In addition to darkening the sky the polarizer filter will also reduce the haze and thus provide more contrast for the distant mountains. This cannot be replicated in Photoshop, at least not easily.

I suggest to consider the variable effect of the polarizer in wide angle shots as an opportunity for interesting landscape compositions rather than a disadvantage, especially with very wide compositions (e.g. 14-16 mm on full frame camera).

Having said that, I almost always take these shots with both the polarizer, and without. I find that the camera sees the polarizing effect somewhat differently than I do with my eye.
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Bro.Luke
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« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2009, 11:06:44 PM »
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Quote from: Goodlistener
Can the members look at these photos and suggest a solution to me?  The problem is that there is differing amounts of polarization in the sky on some shots.

Equiment wise - I am using a circular polarizer on a wide angle lens (Canon 16-35 L Series 77mm filter size) at focal lengths of anywhere from 23 to 35mm.  The camera is a Canon model with a 1.6X crop factor - Digital Rebel XTi at 10 MP.  The problem shows very strongly at 23mm focal length. you will notice it most strongly on the right side here.

Is the bottom line on this one that I just can't use a polarizer when the wide angle is so much?  How do other landscape photographers handle this?

Hi I took the liberty of doing a quick fix as I am a severe polarizer abuser!

My solution is NX2. The way it works in a circular fashion allows one to easily select and correct the big blue circle.

This fix took me 5 seconds. While not perfect you can see a little more effort will bring it into line.

LR2 has a similar tool and you may want to try that as NX while not Nikon specific may not work as well with other cameras.

But all I read here certainly applies. I try to keep the sky out or at 90 to the sun.

HTH

BL
« Last Edit: January 18, 2009, 11:07:38 PM by Bro.Luke » Logged
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