The circular polarisation filter, also known as the CPL filter, is a must-have item in any photographer's camera bag. Perhaps you've heard of a polarisation filter, but what does it do exactly? The polarisation filter is very popular amongst landscape photographers. And rightly so, as it dramatically enhances colour. The sky becomes bluer, the grass greener and your favourite flower just that more vibrant. So, a polarisation filter enhances contrasting.
But there's more to it than that. A polarisation filter also counteracts reflection off water. The same applies to smooth-surfaced objects, such as glass and stones. This allows you to see to the bottom of the water reflection-free, or to capture stones' colours more vividly. With landscape photography, a polarisation filter can yield stunning results by combining reflections in your photo. An example: you're in the Swiss Alps. You come across a lake in a valley, surrounded by gorgeous mountains. The water is crystal clear, and you see a reflection of the snow-capped mountains in the lake. You want to show the clear water, in which the mountain peaks can be seen in the reflection. This is where the polarisation filter comes in.
How does the filter work exactly?
It's not a matter of the filter doing all the work once lens-mounted. A screw thread on the filter facilitates lens mounting, but the filter also has a twist ring. You can use this to twist the filter onto the lens. A polarisation filter lets light through in a specific direction. By turning the filter you can determine the place at which it filters out the reflection..
Bear in mind though that the filter works optimally when light comes in laterally whilst photographing, so not with the sun behind you. Whenever you adjust your camera's setting, you'll need to turn the twist ring accordingly. Think primarily of horizontal and vertical photography. What's great is that as you look through the viewfinder you see what is happening as you twist the filter. This helps you determine the desired effect with ultimate precision.
The polarisation filter is a real must-have amongst landscape photographers. Nature is a glorious colour spectrum, one that can sometimes be tricky to capture. A polarisation filter can help us along the way a bit. It lets you play around with all manner of reflections you might encounter in the water or on shiny objects. In short: an absolute must-have.
All polarisation filters