January 14, 2010

Beach houses at Muizenberg Beach, South Africa;  Sept ’92

using a polarizing filter with landscape photography

In trying to find an interesting image for my entry this week in the Alive for 365 project, I went back into my archives to some color transparencies I had scanned.  It’s still too cold to venture out and hunt new photographs, so I took the comfortable way out.  In going through my older photographs, I noticed that in my landscape photography, there were two common links.

The first link in the images is that the landscapes, as photographed, were most often simplified to basic shapes and patterns.  They were reduced views of what I saw at the time.  I mentioned this briefly in a previous post showing some archive images.

The second link isn’t a thematic one, but rather based on technique.  Most of them used a polarizer filter.  For me this was, and still is, my most useful accessory when photographing landscapes.

The complementary yellow and near-violet colors here are saturated to a deep color.  The red and white lighthouse is then neatly positioned between these two bands of colours.

Lighthouse at Cape Aghulas;  Sept ’92

One of my favorite landscape photos at the time was this backlit scene, taken near Fouriesburg in the Free State, South Africa. May ’95

At one point, while walking around in the veldt here, I turned around and looked back from where I had come … and saw the landscape looking entirely different when partially backlit.  A simple change of viewpoint completely changed the way I saw the light fall on the landscape.  What appealed to me here was the subtle way the lines and colors converged.  A polarizer filter saturated the colors even more by cutting down on the glare.

The strong saturation in these image is mostly due to the polarizer filter that was used.

My recommendation for a Polarizer Filter:
the Kaeseman circular polarizer filter (B&H)


{ 6 comments. } Add a Comment

1 Kathy Marciante January 14, 2010 at 9:23 am

Awesome shot! Love the viewpoint and such great colors!


2 George January 14, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Hey Neil,

Do you use ND filters much to get your exposure down into max sync speeds and wide apertures in sunny weather?

If so what filter do you suggest – 3 stop?


3 Russell How January 17, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Nice one! That blue sky in the top photograph is wonderful.


4 Argos January 18, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Wow — great shot! Love the highly saturated colors…


5 claybrook February 3, 2010 at 4:17 pm

@George and Neil – I’m curious to know more about this too. I know I should just try it out, but those ND filters are expensive, so I’m wondering if a good place to start is a 3-stop. I actually asked about this on FM and some said yes it’ll work, others said on a sunny day I would need more, and some said if you go any higher it’s really hard/impossible to see through viewfinder to focus!! With landscapes that wouldn’t be a problem because you could manually focus and then put the filter on, but not with people (my interest). Thanks for any info!!


6 Neil vN November 14, 2010 at 6:09 pm

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