Circular polarizing (CPL) filters are one of the most useful tools a landscape photographer can have in their toolkit, and in this video from landscape and nature photographer Joshua Cripps, you’re going to find out why.
Of course, they’re not limited to just landscapes, they can also help to cut through reflections and glare on glass and other reflective surfaces, so they can also be great for street, automotive and even portrait photography.
As mentioned in the video, they’re not all that useful if you’re using ultra wide angle lenses, because the field of view is too great, and will cover angles that receive no benefit, but not every landscape needs to be shot ultra wide.
When used well, though, they can have a dramatic effect on skies and reflections, as well, as helping to cut through haze.
Depending on the scene before you, this darkening of the sky and removal of specular highlights can effectively lower the dynamic range of your scene to prevent your sky blowing out while still getting shadow detail.
It may not be something you’ll want to use often and it’s certainly not something you’d want to use for everything, but they are extremely useful when you need them, and there’s no way to realistically reproduce the results they can achieve in post.
There is a great variety of quality out there when it comes to CPL filters, and you generally don’t want to go with one that’s too cheap. Personally, I use B+W Kaesemann CPL filters, but there are some good inexpensive ones out there, like the Hoya Pro1 Digital.
Do you use a CPL filter often? Which one do you prefer? Let us know in the comments.