I have other posts on the usefulness of circular polarizers, why not have a third?, or maybe more accurately a fourth?


Roll your mouse over the image to see the effects of using a circular polarizer ( no other changes were made – I simply rotated the circular polarizer from what I call zero effect to maximum effect)

Quick circular Polarizer Tips:

  • The direction you point your camera in relation to the sun also has an effect – pointing 90 degrees from the sun will give you the potential for the greatest impact. In the example below I was shooting toward the south and the sun was low in the western sky – almost perfectly 90 degrees
  • Be careful not to over polarizer your photos – in the example above you can see that the sky on the left is a good bit lighter, further from 90 degrees you see less effect and as a result get shifts in the sky.  If I had not been taking this photo to demonstrate the extremes I would have rotated the CP a bit to lessen the effect to avoid that gradient in the sky, just a bit though.
  • Be purposeful in using your circular polarizer, don’t always leave it on – it cuts light and may cause you to unnecessarily shoot at higher ISOs
  • Get a circular polarizer if you want to WOW your friends with your Fall photos. The polarizing action can really bring out the color in leaves.
Note – I worked for about 15 minutes on the non-polarized image in Lightroom to see how much of the effect I could recreate in post.  I was able to warm up the colors and add contrast but the detail in the distant mountains is lost to the haze – not recoverable.


Have questions about circular polarizers? Email or leave a comment, I am happy to help.

Links to the correct size of circular polarizers for common lenses.

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 They all had dreams. They all had family. They died for us. Arlington National Cemetery is a heavy place, I can't help but think about all the pain and suffering when presented with row upon row of a headstone representing a fallen soldier and my mind boggles that this still happens today. On this little planet hurtling through an incomprehensible ginormous space - some people think it is ok to kill each other. :( p.s. You should google Cornelius H. Charlton - his story is interesting p.p.s My grandfather is buried in Arlington- my Mom's father was instrumental in designing and implementing early radar systems for the Navy in WW2. Captured with the #Sony #a7RII and #Canon #70200L at 200mm and f/3.2
 #mondaymorningshare - I want to see your failed experiments or favorite photos from the last week. GO TO http://photorec.tv/fb to share your fav image from the past week. Here's my #failedexperiment The US Capitol at Sunset. File this under because I could - a 2 minute exposure with the use of a NISI Filters 10-stop ND. I hoped I would get some interesting wispy movement in the clouds but nothing developed. Next I tried a 6 minute exposure (swipe to see it) and while there may be a little more movement in the clouds it certainly wasn't anything to get excited about. And while I often recommend very carefully shooting building and monuments as symmetrically as possible, I purposefully shot from right of center to avoid losing Ulysses S. Grant statue in the front of the capitol. *  Sony #A7RII and #Canon 2470mm with #NiSiFilters #10StopND
 I love traveling with other photographers on #mckaylive trips. Kari, a trip participant, noticed this line of trees and shared her perspective with me. I had glanced at them but hadn't noticed how nicely they lined up when standing at a certain spot #teacherbecomesthestudent :) We had a great day leaving behind the cherry blossom crowds for a much quieter walk around #HarpersFerryWV. And a visit to #BolivarHeights a much fought over hilltop during the civil war and the site of the largest surrender of Union troops - over 12,000 men surrendered to Stonewall Jackson. *  Captured with the #Panasonic #GH4 and #1235mm lens

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  1. Love the site, Toby.

    I am just getting into photography and I notice the polarizer filters range widely as far as price goes. Can you break down what you get from a $140 filter as opposed to a $10 filter. You can often get a pack of assorted filters for under $15 (UV, CPL, FLD).


    • Just like lenses much of the cost of the higher end lenses/filters is the quality of the glass. $140 filter is going to be a very optically pure filter that is unlikely to degrade your image or add any color cast to your image. Most of the time I go for the middle of the road filters, I haven’t been able to tell the difference between the mid and high level but I have seen the budget ones degrade image quality. Hoya is a good budget brand. Happy to answer more questions or suggest particular filters for your lenses.

  2. Ty for tremends effort and good work you doo

    You have recommended the tamron 28-75 f/2.8, that lines I have ordered. The salesman was about to put my to the wall when I tried to get a 13€ filter (I was going for a CPL-filter) set as a discount “if you want those filters you cane save a lot and by a much cheaper lens”.

    So what qaulity / price range, should I go for, so I don’t compromise the lens quality?

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