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Thread: New Zealand Lake Wanaka Circular Polarisation

  1. #1
    David's Avatar
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    New Zealand Lake Wanaka Circular Polarisation

    Hi All - Lake Wanaka is one of the so-called Southern Lakes in the South Island of New Zealand. It is set in a ring of mountains and hills which provide extraordinarily photogenic settings. These two shots were taken in early morning, with the sun having just peeked above a mountain rim off to the right hand side of the frames (at right angle to the direction of shot). Whatever the merits of their compositions, what is remarkable about these shots is the intensity of the colours. Apart from translating the original RAW files to Tiffs and then to JPEGs for the Web I have not edited these in any way. In particular, I have not added any saturation. Yet the colours are very deep.

    New Zealand Lake Wanaka Circular Polarisation

    New Zealand Lake Wanaka Circular Polarisation

    The reason is that I've used a circular polarising filter set to remove polarised light (I think!). The images to the eye, at the time, looked very dull by comparison. In another life, I once knew a bit about polarisation of light, but any comments on why the effect should be so dramatic when the sun is so low in the sky would be welcome.

    BTW, poplar trees are common in parts of South Island as they were used as guide posts for travellers, like church steeples in the UK.

    Cheers

    David

  2. #2
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: New Zealand Lake Wanaka Circular Polarisation

    I sort of resolved an understanding of polarised light to help me take pictures but the actual correct interpretation in a scientific sense might be different. Polarised light vibrates in a plane, and light that is reflected off a non metallic surface is polarised.
    I imagined that polarised light to be slightly harder than normal light and a polariser blocks some of this harder light, the image will be darker and exposure adjusted appropriately giving more information in lowlights.
    This may well be complete nonsense and it just helps me take pictures such as choosing the darkest orientation of a polariser where no obvious other method can be used to set it. :embarrassed:

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    Re: New Zealand Lake Wanaka Circular Polarisation

    Oh my, you are right about the colours. I love #2.... and #1. Both beautiful shots.

    I too like the effect of a polarizing filter. I recently took the polarizer off of my camera because besides cutting down on light too much in most situations, it was also giving me mixed results. I think I see the same effect, although to a much slighter degree in your photos. Is it just me or is the sky darker at the right than the left. If so is this due to the polarizer or is it just the way it was.

    I had many shots with my polarizing filter where the sky was deeply saturated on one side of the frame, but completly washed out on the other. I'm interested in hearing the answer to your question.

    In the meantime there is some info here: http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...ns-filters.htm

    Apologies if you've read it already

    Wendy

  4. #4
    David's Avatar
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    Re: New Zealand Lake Wanaka Circular Polarisation

    Hi Wendy and Arith - Thanks for your comments. I think I can answer Wendy's question about variations in the colour of a sky, although I'm still trying to work out the answer to my own question. Re the variability in skies, the answer is that the degree of polarisation (darkening of blue for our purposes) depends markedly on the angle between the sun and the direction of the shot. The greatest effect is seen when the direction of the shot is at precisely 90 degrees to the position of the sun. (That's an ambiguous statement, but often used in photographic commentaries.) However, a real shot will have an arc of coverage, say 90 degrees at one side but 110 degrees at the other side. So the side at 110 degrees will experience less effect and appear relatively lighter than the other side. That is seen in #2 above, the LHS being slightly lighter.

    What struck me at the time was just how much our normal vision is influenced by polarised light from reflections. I just can't understand why the effect appears more pronounced when the sun is at a low angle.

    Cheers

    David

  5. #5
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    Re: New Zealand Lake Wanaka Circular Polarisation

    Both are very nice, #2 is my favorite. When a polarizing filter cuts out the glare and reflections the rich colors come through. The variations in the sky can be frustrating.

    Chuck

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