Polarize this!

Polarizer filter example

We bought a mess of filters off of eBay a couple of years ago for about $50 – I think someone died or quit photography, because it was a bonanza of options.  It had a lot of filters I probably will never use, but mixed in the jumble was a circular polarizer.

Now, if you’re a Film is Dead person, or conversely Digital is God, you might think filters are a waste of time.  Why use a filter when you can just photoshop it in?  I have two answers to that. 

  1. If you can take a better exposure with a filter than without, why not use the filter?
  2. As said before, if I can do it in-camera as opposed to post-processing, I will.

As far as I’m concerned, the only real difference between digital and film is the way the information is stored.  I’m not talking about technical differences (because those are varied and many) but the actual way I take my photographs.  If you know how to use light and understand the concepts of the filters, digital or film makes no difference. 

I didn’t take a picture without a filter to show the difference, but as you can clearly see, the sky and the clouds aren’t blown out and the shadow details of the silos are there.  Sortof.  Without the filter, it would have been a really blah picture. 

Granted, I could take the same pic, process it for shadows in raw format, do the same for the highlights in raw; then combine the two in Photoshop for a “realistic” landscape.  That’s not my style. 

Now, I’m not trying to set myself up as an expert.  Not at all.  In fact, this pic is still rather blah, and needs some serious burning and dodging before I would even think about printing it.  The whole point of this post is this: look how good of a pic (almost straight out of the camera) you can get with a simple filter. 

And yes, I hopped out of the car while driving somewhere when I saw this from the road.  I waded through the ditch with 18-wheelers breezing by my car on the shoulder to get this pic.  If I hadn’t, I would have regretted it – you don’t see clouds like that every day.

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