SOME CONVERSATIONS ABOUT “THAT” FILTER
Anyone who has been on a workshop with me or has taken a class with me has heard the soap-box speech about the circular polarizer filter. Yes, it costs much more than the UV filter, but it’s worth it. There are a lot of things we can do in post-processing, but this filter is simply better left to the field work.
Here are some exchanges I have had over the years:
“I have one, but I don’t see any difference.”
Me: “Did you spin it?” A puzzled look follows. Well, here’s the deal. You must spin that outer ring in order to see any difference. I recommend spinning counter-clockwise so that you don’t end up unscrewing and potentially losing the filter on the ground or in the water. Also, I have found that I am able to see even subtle differences more clearly in the spinning by looking through the viewfinder. It’s possible to see it using live view, but that’s not been my best experience. If you just love “live view,” then do the polarizer spin using the viewfinder and then return to viewing via the LCD screen.
“I don’t have one that fits my lens.”
Me: “No problem. Let me check my loaners and step-up ring collection and see if we can get you covered.” I’ve already said I carry loaners for my clients. Most times I’m able to get the situation resolved. I understand budgets and reluctance on some folks’ part to only buy one filter. That’s where buying the circular polarizer for the lens with the largest filter size (i.e., 77mm) and step-up rings can resolve the limitations. This is a great fix until you also want to be able to use your lens hood (another beneficial accessory that isn’t always provided with every lens). There are collapsible rubber lens hoods available that can be a good solution to having only one filter for multiple lenses. Eventually, you may conclude that having a circular polarizer for every lens works best. I certainly have.
“It’s in the hotel” … or “it’s in the car in my other bag” … or “I left it at home.”
Me: See response to the statement above, only this time add an eyeroll. What can I say? I do my best to highly, strongly recommend that everyone is well-equipped with a sturdy tripod and the circular polarizer filter. The “horse to water” proverb comes to mind.