Sidetracked (Get it? Tracked?)

Yesterday was fairly long day for me.  Not only did I come home and get all sidetracked and involved in this, before that ever happened, I worked a ten hour shift and then went and spent about three and a half hours in the back woods shooting.   What  a relaxing afternoon.   I mostly don’t even know what I have on my camera yet.

Today’s trip was about taking my circular polarisers out for a spin.  I hadn’t really used them up until now.    Now that I have used them, I have decided that with time, I could become a fan.   However, I’m also certain that I would be more of a fan of a slide in filter than the circular one and here’s why.     I’m not much on memory and one of my biggest issues was that I would set the filter to where I wanted, then I would zoom and/or focus and forget to readjust the damn filter.   With a slide-filter, I can go, “Oh look”……click.    I am also not a fan of the vignette that shows up on the shots at the higher settings.   I’m not even sure if “higher setting” is the appropriate term so I will say that it is the place where the shot is most polarised.

So if you’re new to using circular polarising lenses, please make sure to readjust your filter after zooming and/or focusing.

I know that I will be practising with them more and maybe, just maybe, I’ll figure out some middle ground where I like the effect and can obtain it without the vignette.   As far as that other part, I suppose some Ginkgo Biloba will be necessary.

One thing I did manage to remember is that my friends over at Toad Hollow Photo are chomping at the bit for me to do a series on trains.   Today, I just happened to be standing under a bridge as one came roaring by.   Of course, my camera was on the wrong setting for shooting a train at 45 mph but at least it’s got some great Depth of Field.  🙂

Here you go Toads!!


7 responses

  1. Tim

    Mike ,you are not alone in your frustration with a circular polarizer. I struggled to get the hang of mine for a very long time. Now I am much more comfortable with it. I would suggest reading about how to use one over at The Mindful Eye:

    Craig gives a lot of information about both types as well as some effects of the filters not normally thought of.

    July 25, 2011 at 3:52 AM

    • Thanks for the link Tim. I’ll get over there and check it out for sure!

      Update: I went a checked out the video Tim. Very instructive. I will definitely keep the ideas in mind the next time I go out and shoot with it. I am also now of the opinion that I should be using it a lot more than I do.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:50 AM

  2. Pingback: Tributary | Mike Victorino Photography

  3. OH HEY!!! Thanks Mike, what an honor there, sir! Did I mention I love trains? I think I did! This is actually a really great shot, my friend! Sometimes the coolest things happen by accident, I always say. LOL Thank you ever so much for your kind mention and consideration here today, Mike, we sure do appreciate that my friend!

    July 26, 2011 at 10:05 AM

    • My pleasure!!

      July 26, 2011 at 10:24 AM

  4. tom dinning

    Hi Mike. Glad you might become a fan of Polarising filters. It might be worth reading up on how they work and why they do what they do. Some of the effects you have mentioned are characteristic of why they do what they do and can be used and avoided only by understanding this.
    For example, photographing the sky. Light from the sky is only partly polarised and it depends on the angle between you, your viewing point and the sun. As this changes, the polarising effect is reduced or increased. This can happen even within you field of view especially with a wide angle lens. So you may get a vignetting effect across the sky because some of the sky has been polarised more than others and the filter will darken those areas which are more polarised. Does that make sense?
    The thing you need to remember is to rotate the axis of the polariser to give you the effect you want. You should do this at the end of your framing and focussing. Yuo can do it beforehand only if you have a lens which does not rotate the front element during this process. Slideon filters still need to have their axis of polarisation adjusted according to the angle of the surface from which the light is reflected. Its a bit harder with these types of filters because they can only be adjusted to 90deg. You are better off with a screw on filter.
    Stay with it and experiment. They dont get used a lot but when they do they work like a dream.

    August 13, 2011 at 4:09 PM

    • Thanks Tom. I have been shooting more and more with mine on and I can tell you for certain that I like the result A LOT better…that is when I get everything right. As you said though and as I have been finding out, it is all about the trying and seeing what works and what doesn’t.

      August 13, 2011 at 11:18 PM

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