Reflecting on the Polarizer

Who else loves reflections? I don’t know about you, but I love photographing them, and even without a camera, I just love staring at them. Part of a reflection’s power is its ability to engage the brain in different ways than we’re accustomed: Rather than processing the scene directly, we first must mentally reassemble the reverse world of a reflection, and in the process perhaps see…

Out of this World

On a quiet spring morning you step from the car and are greeted by electric-pink rhododendrons basking in splashes of early sunlight. Your arms prickle at the morning chill, but you wisely decide to leave the sweater behind, closing the door as softly as possible to preserve the peace. At a mostly overgrown gap in the foliage, you part the branches and step onto…

To Polarize, or Not to Polarize

One of my most frequently asked questions during a workshop shoot is, “Should I use my polarizer here?” Of course that’s an impossible question to answer absolutely because as a creative choice, the polarizer decision is rarely absolute. While many people believe the sole purpose of a polarizer is to make the sky darker (deeper blue), blue sky is just a byproduct of the…

How a polarizer works

Some people couldn’t care less how a polarizer works—they’re satisfied knowing what a polarizer does, and how to make it happen. But if you’re like me, you also need to understand why things behave the way they do. Put simply… A polarizer cuts reflections. On the surface that not might seem so desirable for someone who likes photographing reflections as much as I do, but reflections…

Dialing it in

  I’m a big fan of the polarizer, so much so that each of my lenses wears a polarizer that never comes off in daylight. A couple of years ago “Outdoor Photographer” magazine published my article on using a polarizer, a slightly modified version of a blog post that appears in the Photo Tips section of this blog. If you read that article, or pay much attention to what…