While shooting the sunrise on a gorgeous Puget Sound morning yesterday, I was calmly reminded of the usefulness of polarizing filters, shown by extreme differences.
Both of these images are completely unedited, straight out of the camera, so you can see the true difference.
With polarizing filter engaged:
The only difference between the two images, from an exposure standpoint, is the shutter speed. The top image was shot at 1/30 and the bottom at 1/10 because the filter will block a little light when engaged. Otherwise, both shots are ISO 100, 50mm, f/7.1.
This isn’t to say you have to use a filter. It is meant to show the stark difference when the sun hits just right. In this case, the sun had just risen to my left, giving me a nice 90 degree angle. Some people might like the second image as it show Mt. Rainier and the Space Needle in bright contrast, and very white. But others may like the top image as it is warmer and more indicative of sunrise.
I tend to prefer Hoya circular polarizing filters but there are certainly other brands on the market.
31+ Days To Better Photography is a series written by professional photographer Peter West Carey on The Carey Adventures.Com. The series is designed to unravel the mysteries of photography so you can take better pictures. Subscribe here to receive all the updates and bonus material. Your comments are always welcome. Also check out 31 Days Of Photography Experiments to practice what you learn.