Expert Tips on Wildlife & Nature Photography
Court is an avid nature and wildlife photographer and naturalist Expedition Leader for Natural Habitat Adventures. His background in wildlife and conservation biology led him to pursue a joint Ph.D. in ecotourism and entomology. As Editor in Chief of The Natural Photographer, he is eager to share his photography knowledge and creative guidance with readers through comprehensive tutorials and blog posts. You may view more of his photography at www.courtwhelan.com
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Court Whelan, Ph.D.
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Court Whelan, Ph.D.
October 20, 2021 at 1:30 pm
Great info man. Very consistent and clear. Thanks
A polarizing filter can also be useful if you are shooting through glass such as windows or side of an aquarium. I like you, however, have found very little use of my polarizing filters over time.
I have a Polarizing filter, but it is not a CPL (circular).Can i use it on my digital camera?
interesting…if it’s able to mount to your lens somehow than I’d say yes. However, you also may not be able to adjust the level of polarization, which could either over or under polarize your photo. Let me know your brand of polarizer and I’m happy to research it for you!
There is some misinformation here about how a polarizer works. A polarizer blocks light with it’s electric field in a certain orientation, and lets other orientations through. Sunlight is randomly polarized, meaning it’s rays are have electric fields oscillating is all directions. It turns out that rays oscillating in some orientations reflect more strongly than others, esp. at certain angles (see Brewster’s angle, usually around 55 deg). At these angles, one can use a polarizer to filter out the light of the high refection electric field orientations, reducing glare and increasing saturation.
Basically, it filters light that is oscillating about a certain axis, which happens to reflect more, especially near Brewster’s angle!
As far as editing, you can desaturate in Lightroom. However, you cannot reproduce the effects of a polarizer in software.
Btw, the reason they use CPLs for DSLRs is because a linear polarized will screw with your optical viewfinder. A circular polarizer prevents this because of…math.
you’re hired! Great stuff, Jacob and thanks for sharing! I’ve found that if you decrease the luminance value of the blues, in lightroom or photoshop, you can get a similar effect as what a polarizer will give you for blue skies. But of course there is no slider in photoshop to fully take away reflection on the surface of water :). Thanks again for contributing!