To Polarize or Not To Polarize?

I’ve always been intrigued by the polarizing filter, or circular polarizing filter if you’re a newer photographer.

You can create some of the same effects in post processing of your raw digital images – but what if you’re going old school and shooting film?

On a recent trip, when I just happened to be shooting film, I took two shots in sequence. The first without polarization, and the second with. Because I think analog is fun, let’s take a peek at the images – using one of my favorite digital blogging tools, the before and after image compare…

The sky didn’t change too much – which I expected – mainly because of the angle I was shooting at. I was looking directly west in this shot. With a polarizer, the sky will not change drastically unless you’re shooting perpendicular to the sun’s path in the sky – so looking north or south would show the most dramatic change in sky intensity as you adjust your polarizer.

What I didn’t expect, or notice until I looked at the prints a couple weeks after my trip, was that the polarizer had darkened the river very nicely. Another thing the polarizer will do in your images, specifically reducing reflections shot at just the correct angle.

Just another fun thing about shooting film: the surprise when you notice things in your images days, or weeks after you shot them.

Have fun, and enjoy film! Ok, you can enjoy digital, too.