Saturday, 14 May 2011

How to use polarising filter to reduce window reflections

Have you ever tried to take a photo of a shop or a restaurant from the outside, and instead of getting a glimpse of the venue through its windows, ended up taking a photo of the reflected houses on the other side of the street? I have.

While I was waiting for the sun come out in order to take some sunny terrace garden photos for a local restaurant, The Old Bank, I thought I'd take a couple of shots to demonstrate the effect of a polarising filter and how you can use it to reduce window reflections.

So, standing outside in front of the entrance, I took a photo of the window on the left.

Then I put a polarising filter on and turned it slowly until I saw through my viewfinder the window go dark, and took another photo.

See what difference it made? Now that the distracting reflections are missing, you can actually see the indoor tile wall of the restaurant through the window. You can still see the sky reflected at the top of the window, but look how much more clearly you can read the notice board in the middle of the window!

Turning to the right, another window - first without a filter.

...and then with a polarising filter.

Again, the bright reflections are greatly reduced and you can actually see through the window, and especially you can see clearly what is written on the notice board.

To get the best effect of the polarising filter you need to be in a slight angle to the surface - in this case, the windows. But basically it's a very simple tool to use for this purpose: all you need to do is screw the filter on, then - looking through your viewfinder - turn the filter slowly and see when the window looks darkest, and take your shot.

Here's another thing I had to do while waiting for the sun come out today: eat a delicious cheese & bacon beef burger. It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it.

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