Polarizing filters are possibly THE most useful for outdoor photography. In my opinion they have three key functions:

1. they darken blue skies and enhance cloud detail
2. they increase colour saturation markedly
3. they reduce (maybe remove) reflections

It’s the third function I want to demonstrate here.

Last Monday I was tutoring someone in general waterfall photography techniques along the Vale of Neath. We discussed the use of polarisers, which were absent in her kitbag (they won’t be for long!). I loaned her mine to show just how they can impact a waterfall/river shot.

Firstly, notice in the polarised shot just how much less reflection there is coming off the river! Secondly, look carefully at the ‘flow’ of the falls. They are slower – because the use of the polariser when the outer ring is turned to polarise, underexposes by a fraction and has the effect of slowing down the water flow by lengthening the exposure.

Of course, there is NO right or wrong here I have to say, but I do prefer the deeper, richer in the polarised version on the bottom – and – the use of the filter gives me a choice I would otherwise not have.

Thanks Jo for a great day out helping you!

Upper Ddwli with polariser web_DSC0651

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