Back Modifications (8)
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Light on and off

By xwang
Thank to EPZ friends' advice, I got a polarizing filter last weekend. I tried to take a few photos on Sunday morning(sunny).Some of them are OK, some of them seemed too dark.I tried again today(cloudy).I don't quite know how to use it.I'd like to have more advice from you.I wonder if I didn't adjust the filter well,or the light was not strong (bright) enough to use the filter,or I used the wrong setting.
Everytime I pass by this lamp, it reminds me of a turner prize winner whose work was something to do with turning a light on and off, which I didn't quite understand, so I took several photos of the street versonSmile
With circular PL
Setting:S1/400;F5.6;ISO125 ;Focal length 60mm;Time 7:40am(Sunny)
Setting on MOD photo S1/50;F10;ISO100;Focal length60mm ;Time11:33 am(Cloudy)
I didn't do any post process work, apart from straightening the lamp post a bit.
All criticisms, comments, advices...etc are welcome.Thank you.

Tags: Street photography Photo journalism

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


davey_griffo 9 213 165 England
6 Jul 2010 6:41PM
You place a polarizer over your lens, then twist it until you get the effect you like. It should spin either in the holder, if you have a Cokin type system, or part of the filter itself, if it is the screw in type.

It makes blue skies deeper, takes the shine off foliage, & lets you see through the glare on glass or water.

Point it at different things and experiment.

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Sooty_1 8 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
7 Jul 2010 7:57AM
This isn't really a photo for demonstrating a polariser.
It is cluttered with stuff that detracts from the main subject, and it is all sharp, competing for attention. I wonder if there is a better angle to shoot this light with?


First: is it a linear or circular type? Linear ones can sometimes mess up the meter reading with modern metering systems. It should say on the filter which it is. If linear, you might have to meter without it, then put the filter in place and use manual settings. Or you could just trial and error and look at the screen.

Second: Look through the filter without it on the lens. On sunny days, the polariser will have most effect with the sun at right angles to you. Rotate the filter as you look through it in different directions and see what it does. Cloudy days, with no blue sky, will show very little effect.

It should cut down on non-metallic reflections, though only at certain angles - look at window or water reflections from different angles and rotate it to see the effects.

If used with a wide lens, you will find the polariser effect varies across the frame, so you also need to be careful not to get patchy skies.

A great filter to use though, when used properly.
BarryC123 9 43 25 Ireland
7 Jul 2010 10:33AM
Personally I find a Polariser is most useful for images with lots of sky, clouds or water, and not a shot such as this.
AS Sooty said, polarisers work best at a right angle to you, not directly behind or in front of you.
The best way to work out when best to use one is practice really.
xwang 9 56 8
7 Jul 2010 10:35AM
Thank you Dave for your practical and helpful advice.
Thank you Sooty_1.I agree with you.This is not the best photo to demonstrate polarising filter,and I didn't know that the type of the filter should be declared.Sorry about that,it's my ignorance.
You are right on your second point. I had tried what you said on a sunny day under the help of another EPZ friend.When I rotated the filter,it became lighter or darker.Also as you said about cloudy days, the photo which I put on MOD section.I just understood that is no( or less) polarisering effect.
I haven't got through "non-metallic reflections" yet.(Sorry, I'm foreign and not technical eitherSmile,but I cann't keep using them as an excese,I'm quite happy to know...and need all your help)I have never encountered this idea before.I was told by the EPZ friend to look the filter through mirror and then put sellotape on the mirror.I just managed to have a try a moment ago. I saw the colour on the mirror changed...and I suddenly understood that by putting the swllotape on,changed the mirror image from metallic reflection into nonmetallic reflection.Am I right? I think that there are more theories in it,I don't know what they are...
Yes, wide lens does get patchy sky.I just remembered that I took a photo with wide lens(my lens is zoom one).The cloud was at the edge, it did look a bit patchy. Thank you very much for telling me.Thank you again for your kind and helpful comments.
Ha,ha, thank you very much Frank, I do enjoy your sense of humour.Thank you for your kind and helpful advice.I actually also concern the amount of electricity is wasted at day time as well ..Smile
xwang 9 56 8
7 Jul 2010 10:44AM
Thank you Barry, I just realised this. I didn't understand why it was so dark.I don't know it was the setting or the filter..I used Aperture priority,I thought it was early [in my worldSmile ], so I set the aperture at 5.6,.Would it look defferent,if I changed setting?Was it a wrong setting?Thank you again.
metro074 8 8 Australia
7 Jul 2010 12:00PM
I think its a super image with lovely detail and clarity. Smile
xwang 9 56 8
7 Jul 2010 12:08PM
Thank you very much Carol, for your kind comment,your photo reminded me of some oil paintings.. I just went your PF,ha,ha, we missed each...Smile
7 Jul 2010 12:22PM
lovely shot Xiaoli great detail in this one spot on
pamelajean Plus
12 1.1k 2023 United Kingdom
7 Jul 2010 6:17PM
You already have some good advice about your polarizer. It isn't necessary for all images, Xiaoli, and exposure compensation might be better used at times. I like this image but have tried to simplify it in my modification, where I brightened it, then used free rotate, left 1.40, to straighten the wall, realising I would then make the lamp tilt, but thought it better this way because the wall is on the frame edge. Perspective Correction distorted the lamps. I then cropped, cloned out the burglar alarm and extended the wall top right to eliminate the dark shadow there. I used Colour Balance to remove the blue from the wall, slightly adjusted levels, then enhanced the highlights on the lamp metalwork by using the sharpening tool very finely. I then used the Saturation Tool on the lamp that is alight, opacity 75, to enhance the colour and make it more of a feature of the image.
paulbroad 10 123 1250 United Kingdom
8 Jul 2010 8:38AM
Mostly been said. The image is actually showing every sign of a good two stops under exposure. Bearing in mind everything else that has been said - You do have a circular polariser don't you, not a linear. This has nothing to do with the shape, it relates to how the polarisation crystals are laid out in the glass. ALL modern SLR, digital or film MUST have a circular polariser, not linear.

You werent on manual were you? You must meter with the polariser on the lens in the position that you have rotated it to to take the picture. You can use manual metering with the polariser off the camera, then fit it, but you must then increase exposure by 1 to 2 stops.

The polariser also acts as a neutral density (ND) filter.

I suspect you have under exposed.

xwang 9 56 8
8 Jul 2010 9:33AM
Thank you SOooooo....much Paul.Yes, the filter is digital circular polariser(Hoya pro1).
No, I set on Aperture-Priority.When F:5.6, the camera set the speed at 1/400sec.It suppose to be automatic then, whay it's so dark?
I have no idea what ND is ,I have to find out later...Smile
Thank you very very much Paul.

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