There are many well written articles by people far more intelligent and articulate than I about the use of a polarizing filter for landscape photography. I am not going to re-hash what has already been well covered before me. Instead I will simply use two raw files to visually demonstrate why a polarizer filter for landscape photography is still a necessity in this modern day and age. There are still some things that post processing will never be able to re-create.
Polarizing Filter For Landscape Photography
I had been traipsing the woods with a friend looking for an image on a rotten overcast morning. David found a small brook and set to work getting the shot. I arrived back 5 minutes later and enquired how he had gotten on using the polarizing filter – the look on his face said it all. He had not thought to use one. We set about recreating the image with a polarizer this time.
The raw files you see below are straight from the camera and extremely flat as you would expect but they tell a great story. The polarizing filter has lengthened the time of exposure to help smooth the water a little more. It has killed all glare on the foliage and water allowing the beautiful saturated reds and oranges to show through. We can now see stones on the bottom of the stream. Additionally, the overall colours have popped far more.
To be honest, there has been very little. When you get it right in camera, it’s not a tough job to bring the final image to life. Some simple cropping and vignetting centred the viewers eyes exactly where I wanted them. A little boost in shadows a white/black adjustment were finished off with a punch in contrast, vibrancy and saturation. Finally, the de-haze tool brought out the textures and micro contrasts exactly where needed. Although cliched, a simple pleasing image is always nice to walk away with when there is little else happening thanks to dull weather.