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Adding Punch to Outdoor Photos

By Ed Chop

Most of us will be travelling and taking photographs outdoors this summer. Put a little punch into those sunny scenes with a polarizing filter.

A polarizing filter removes reflections from many surfaces and intensifies the colors by filtering out light rays moving in the same direction. Think of a flat stone being thrown towards the water. When the stone is thrown with the edge perpendicular to the water surface, the stone falls into the water. When the stone is thrown with the flat surface horizontal to the water, the stone skips across the water. Light behaves in a similar fashion. The light waves skipping off the surface are polarized.

Our polarizer filter blocks out those polarized waves, allowing other transverse waves through. Rotating the filter will adjust how much light is allowed through. The less polarized light that is allowed through, the more the glare is reduced, thus giving us more saturated colors. Since the sky that is at 90 degrees from the sun is polarized, that portion of the sky becomes darker as we rotate our filter. At noon, when the sun is directly overhead, the sky on the horizon is polarized and can be darkened with your filter.

This photo was taken at a slightly different angle using a polarizer filter.

This photo was taken without a polarizer filter.

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