Tess had posed a question the other day about whether or not I used a polarizing filter on one of my “elusive tree” shots. Good question Tess! It just happened that the sky that day was very clear and a deep blue, but I thought that her question was a valid one and something that we should explore as a polarizing filter is a most useful screw-on attachment to have in your bag of tricks.
It is most effective when used at an angle to the sun and you will understand what I mean when you actually use one. The easiest way to see the effect is to aim at a blue sky with white clouds… and this is the example that I will use here. As you are looking through your camera, you will actually turn the filter one way or the other and you will see one of two things happen… either it will have little effect in which case you might need to reposition yourself related to the sun or you will gradually see the sky darken and your clouds stand out and be more prominent and more dramatic.
It can also be used to decrease reflections in a window. Try shooting a window display and you may well see car reflections in the window taking away from what you are attempting to shoot. Turn the polarizing filter and this will help to minimize those unwanted reflections.
I have also used a polarizing filter shooting plant life to remove reflections from the green foliage which our eyes are really not accustomed to seeing but then again, the camera sees differently, and it will also decrease atmospheric haze.
You will need to be sure that the filter you buy is the correct millimeter size to screw on the front of your lense.
I am including a couple photos I just took at the lake so you can compare the effect of a polarizing filter on the sky.
To read more… please go to this excellent article: