Do I need polarizer when I shoot reflections in Canadian lakes / ponds

Discussion in 'Nature' started by oleg_lempert|2, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. Hi,
    I am going to Banff / Yoho NP in September. I see many great oportunities there to take pictures of mountains
    reflected in lakes and ponds. I have been reading mixed opinions about using Circular Polarizer filter on reflections.
    Some say it is necessary while others reason that Polarizers only mess up the shot. I purchased the book on
    photography in Canadian Rockies by Darwin Wiggett. Almost all reflection pics in the book are taken with Sing-Ray
    Warming Polarizer Plus. By definition, polarizers REDUCE reflection. What am I missing here?
  2. They allow you to control the *amount* of reflection, and warming polarizers are popular with many landscape photographers for the effect that they have on light temperature.

    - Randy
  3. Polarizers only reduce reflected glare, not reflections themselves. They may make the reflection of the mountains more visible by
    reducing the glare coming off the lake. Glare in photos often reduce the saturation, making the colors look dull.

  4. Polarizers do not necessarily reduce reflections. They only help control them. In terms of effect, there is no difference between a linear or circular polarizer. Reflections in lakes are a trade-off in that the filter orientation may be at a significantly different angle for maximum effect for the lake, or the sky. Throw a rainbow (which is strongly polarized) into the scene, and you will have a lot of fun trying to optmize the effect that you want. You may wish to consider using a neutral grad filter in combination with the pol.
  5. You could leave out the adjective and your query would make more universal sense.

    Such as in : " Do I need polarizer when I shoot reflections in lakes / ponds?"

    There is no strict need; it can be done nicely without, but you can make good use out of a CF in water photography to de- or
    increase the reflection intensity. Your choice.
  6. More important is a GND filter, this shot was used with a .9 Lee soft edge GND and no polariser, it depends on the situation
  7. Beautiful area! I won't mind going back again. Darwin knows where everything is.

    Oh yea, be sure to use a CP and grad ND filter (as Ross suggested). I actually used the hard edge more. Here is one.

    Have fun,
  8. You could always take one with and one without the filter.
  9. We just got back from Banff/Yoho/Kootenay/Jasper... very beautiful and Mr Wiggett's book is well worth it.

    With a polarizer and reflections, you can try it yourself - you don't need Canadian water :) Just try shooting a reflection in a local pond/fountain or in case there's neither, carry a bowl of water. As you rotate the polarizer, you'll see the effect on the reflection in the water.

    If you're flying out of Calgary, carries the Singh-Ray GND's.

    For a September visit, make sure you bring warm clothing as well, you may very well see sub-zero temps. If you're camping, bring ear-plugs, most of the sites are very near the railway and the Trans-Canada highway runs right thru the park.
  10. Go to Darwin's web site and read his articles about how he uses the polarizer and Grduated Neutral Density filters and you see that the posters have got it correct.

    Start with the articles at the bottom of the list. If you have access to a bookstore loook for a magazine entitled something like Canadian Outdoor Photographer and you will see articles by him worth reading before your trip.

    The most important thing for good refllection shots is no wind (get up and be in position before sunrise) and GND filters. If glare is coming off of the water, remove it with your polarizer. Polarizers do not reduce reflections. Blend the "lights" present with your GNDs if needed. I tend to underestimate the strength of the GND needed. I suggest you take 2 stop and 3 stop GNDs with you, both hard and soft. I use mine in a Cokin P holder with a Singh Ray warming polarizer when needed. If you use a holder system like a Cokin P or other brand, make sure it is ready to go at all times. In the Canadian Rockies, the light changes frequently and it takes too much time to assemble it.

    While in Banff make sure you go to Vermillion Lakes in late afternoon or for sunrise or both. I have never been to Yoho. Enjoy your trip. Joe Smith
  11. I would leave a lens home before I left my polarizer home for a trip like that. When I'm in that area, the polarizer is on my lens most of the time.

    Kent in SD
  12. SCL


    Canadian lakes is irrelevant...polarizers can reduce reflections off water anywhere, depending on the angle of incidence of the light.
  13. This image was shot using a CP which actually enhanced the reflection. Initially, the water in the background ("below" the mountain) was nothing but glare which not only messed with my exposure but also took away from the illusion. By using the CP I was able to eliminate the glare and at the same time create an interesting image with the rocks visible under the water.

    So, yes, take the polarizer. You'll be glad you did.

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