How to Best Use a CPL Filter in Outdoor Photography

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Introducing your CPL filter to your outdoor photography.

If you are an outdoor photographer and shoot a lot of landscapes, a CPL filter (circular polarized) will help you get the best shot. You can create effects that you can’t get with any other filter. It is important to keep in mind that some of these effects can’t be simulated in post-production.

Gobe CPL Lens Filter

You can pretty accurately simulate an ND filter, but not a polarized one.

Now, first we need to know what a polarizing filter does:

Gives more colour saturation. Improving the colour depth and increasing clarity. This gives the landscape more drama and makes it more interesting.

Cuts down reflections, allowing you to get the detail that the reflection was masking. This is impossible to simulate in post-production.

Reduces haze.

atacama desert

 Make sure that both the filter and lens are clean. There is nothing worse than taking an amazing shot and realizing in post processing that there was dust in the lens or a finger print on the filter.

Place yourself pointing at 90º from the sun. The CPL Filter won’t work if you are shooting directly into the sun or directly against the sun!

Rotate the front ring of the CPL Filter until you get the amount of polarization you are looking for. You can see this in the viewfinder and you can stop polarizing when the sky reaches the shade of blue you’re looking for.

Take various shots with different levels of polarization, so you have various options in post-processing.

polarised filter

If you over-polarize a shot and the sky turns almost black (like in the example above) DON’T PANIC! You can always rotate the filter back and reduce the polarization.

CPL filter waveIMAGE—Nick Rapley

You don’t need to worry about the Sun here, so it doesn’t matter if you shoot directly into it. The clouds will block the Sun and defuse it’s light, making shadows softer.

Use a CPL Filter to get rid of the reflections that the water causes in vegetation and rocks by rotating the front ring. This will give you a whole new level of detail that was hidden underneath the reflections. You won’t be able to create this effect without a CPL.

Rio Azul

 By eliminating the reflections in the water, so you can see everything that is underwater. (see example above)

A CPL will change the way you shoot and the results you get in the outdoors. You will hardly ever take the CPL off your lens!

Gobe Lens Filter

FEATURE IMAGE—Michel Catalisano

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Cecilia Ocean

This Article was written by Cecilia Ocean, a Gobe customer. She sent us these words after discovering how CPL filters changed her photography.

2019-12-03T05:21:55+00:00Categories: Gear, Photography|Tags: , , |