787 – Winter

We had a fine, sunny day today, and I used it to go once more down to the river, intending to get another image of Mittagskogel, but this time in a winter landscape.

This image was shot using a polarizer, and I have to admit that I still don’t feel comfortale with these beasts. They interfere with colors in a way that I don’t like. I used the Sigma 50/1.4 today, this lens has a 77mm filter thread and my 77mm polarizer is a Hoya Pro 1 Digital, that’s the slim, expensive type. I am not really sure, I’d have to make systematic tests and that’s probably a stupid waste of time, but it’s especially the Hoya filters that meddle with my colors. B&W ever gave me that feeling.

What do I mean with “meddling with colors”? Well, it’s probably a shift into magenta, or rather a draining of green and cyan. The images look pale, unsaturated. This is especially true with automatic white balance, thus I normally use “Cloudy”. Underexposing helps as well.

As a result, post-processing this image was quite a challenge. I really had to reconstruct the colors, and I guess the final result is not too unnatural.

What about you? Do polarizers complicate the process for you? JPEG shooters, how do you do it? Any tricks?

The Song of the Day is “Winter” from the 1992 Tori Amos album “Little Earthquakes”. See a video on YouTube.

7 thoughts on “787 – Winter”

  1. Andreas, I have the opposite feeling about polarizers. I shoot a lot around water and love to take the glare off the surface. I also like the contrast it adds to skies and the deep blue it makes at 90degrees to the light. What I don’t like is how its effects fade off at different angles to the light requiring careful blending in PS. I have the Hoya Pro 1 along with some cheaper models (3), I have not done side by side tests but I cannot tell which one I used based on the image. Try your polarizer on a clear stream, turn slowly and watch the water.

  2. Mike, don’t get me wrong, I know exactly how a polarizer works, I use it just as it’s meant to be used, but I have the impression, that it interferes with white balance, colors in general, and even with the camera’s metering, in a way that feels … inconvenient.

    I did post-processing of this image on the train, on a laptop with much less than an ideal display, and now that I see it here in Vienna, I think it turned out well, but it did so, because I knew what Lab numbers I expected. I have tweaked this image by the numbers. I’d have liked to be able to rely on automatic white balance just like I do normally, or at least to know that it is consistently off one way or the other. As it is, I can only describe it as colors paled out unevenly, some more than others. This is not a matter of cranking up saturation, this requires careful work.

    But of course: in some situations you have not much choice but to use them, at the seaside being an especially drastic case. Still, I feel better without ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I hardly ever use a polariser these days, either with film or digital pretty much because of the reasons you give. I find that it’s better to finely compensate in the RAW processing if I need to. I just think that they are a bit coarse. I do use one for cutting out reflections on leaves or water if I need to though. I’ll always shoot with and without anyway so as to allow me options when I get home.

  4. I’ve not had a problem with my polariser recently but I did have to shift from a Hoya linear polariser to a Cokin circular one when I moved from 35mm to digital a few years back. I can’t remember the details but I remember reading that linear polarisers don’t play well with the metering in some DSLRs – could this be a problem for you?

  5. Nope. I only use circular polarizers. As I said, it’s a matter of color shifts. This is anything between subtle and not so subtle, but if you know what to look for, you see it. Some may be more, some may be less bothered with it. I am, and probably my only problem is, that I always have to make up for it in post-processing.

    Normally I exactly know what to do in PP, but this is something that only happens whenever I use a polarizer, i.e. not too often, and I have no established routine for it. I always have to try, it costs me time, and when I am on a computer with an unreliable display, it really gets tedious.

  6. Hi Andreas,

    I’m going to skip the discussion about polarizers — I use them too — and concentrate on this fabulous image of yours.

    I love the combination of the cold blue/white colors and the warmth of the remaining fall colors. How great to get the snow and fall colors in one image.

    Just a lovely winter scene that puts me in the mood for Christmas.

    Happy holidays!!

  7. Marti, I love the colors as well, and I would love it even more when I’d not have to reconstruct them every time I use a polarizer ๐Ÿ™‚

    OK, maybe it’s only stupidity on my side. I’m really at the point now, where I want to look into that matter systematically. Expect another post about polarizers any week now, and for a change it will be not a rant but an informed one ๐Ÿ™‚

Comments are closed.