There are many different kinds of filters available which serve different objectives targeted to enhance the effect of the photographs. There is a particular filter that you must have in your camera kit, and that is the polarizing filter. Have you ever ponder how do some of the photographs from postcards, travel images are able to project a very nice deep blue sky? How did the photographers reduce the reflections on the subjects? The answer to this lies in the use of a polarizing filter. With the polarizing filter, you are able to reduce the reflections and normally produce a more saturated image which creates a special effects to your photographs. Although this effect can be easily achieved by using some photo editing software, it is still worth the effort getting a polarizing filter for a quick and immediate effect.
The polarizing filter can be attached easily to the front of your lens by screwing it in (in most cases). There is another ring (normally the outer ring of the filter) where you can rotate 360 degree. Look through the viewfinder while rotating the ring and you will be able to realize the change in effect the filter created. You can do a simple experiment with the filter and camera.
With the filter attached, point your camera to the blue sky. Look through the viewfinder and observe carefully at the blue sky as you rotate the outer ring. You will notice that the blue sky getting darker and darker as you rotate the ring, the color of sky gets lighter and even back to the original color. Generally, the effect of the polarizing filter will be maximize when the sun is 90 angle to your subject.
The filter will have minimal or no effect when the sun is directly behind your main subject. With this example, I hope that you will be able to understand the relationship between the polarizing effects with respect to the sun position and to your main subject. Polarizing filter can be used when capturing clear and still water during day time as well.
It can aid by reducing the reflections and you are able to see into the water. The same illustration can be applied to shooting reflective surface. For example leaves and foliage to achieve a beautiful saturated color. Although this filter is capable to produce a more saturated effect on your image, do be careful not to over-do it. This will result in your photographs bearing unnatural color, which is not too attractive to landscape photographer (unless you want the effect purposely). Generally, what majority of the photographers do is they will rotate the ring of the filter to achieve maximum effect, and which that, they go back slightly by a few degrees to gain the best effect.
There are mainly 2 types of polarizing filter namely liner and circular. As technology advance, most SLR today are digital in nature with auto-focus ability. Thus a circular polarizer is commonly used for cameras that has a through-the-lens metering system and/or auto-focus. Hopefully with the explanations above, you are able to understand the use and the significance of having a polarizing filter.
There is a old saying, "Practice Make Perfect". Do attempt more outdoor shots and appreciate the use of a polarizing filter and you will be able to utilize this skill set naturally.
Yong Sak is a Freelance Photographer who owns a Photography Portal, sharing Beginners Photography Tips for those who are new and keen in photography. Please view his portfolio in Chin Yong Sak Photographs, where he showcase his works for sharing and comments.