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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 1:06 am 
Pre-emptive edit (of sorts): Oh jeez, I just realized there is a whole other thread covering polarizing filters HERE. Sorry about that :(

Hi all,

So you may recognize me as the cheapskate college student all too struggling to get himself a DSLR, and the one who got lucky with that hand-me-down D40 with only 4 pulls on the trigger :twisted: That's enough background information for now, I guess, so here's the catch:

Below you see my entry for the February 'on-assignment' contest, mildly processed for increased contrast and a little warming-up of the colors and there you have it

Image

Gear: Nikon D40 with standard-issue 18-55 mm kit lens
Focal length: 31 mm
Mode: Aperture Priority
Aperture: f/14
Shutter speed: 1/125 sec
Exposure compensation: -1 EV
ISO speed: 200

You see, while the boats, the buildings and the sea have all been exposed rather nicely (at least by 'second-day-out-with-the-first-DSLR' standards), the sky is literally blown out into oblivion. Now I think there's more to this than just bad shooting -- The abundance of subjects dictates a small aperture, the camera decides on the shutter speed and I'm already one full-stop down on the EV and I believe anything lower will destroy the boats instead.

Now, I know that the time of shooting (around 3 pm) is not the best for getting great colors, avoiding harsh reflections or a blown-out sky -- I would be much better off if I kept my landscape shooting to 'sweeter' hours, that's right. However, my busy and awkward schedule seems to limit me to these 'inappropriate' hours for the bulk of my shooting, when the sun is still well-up (and it will be even more well-up as we are headed for summer).

So I did some research, and found out that a circular polarizing filter could be the remedy to my issues. However, that piece of gear is rather expensive (starting off at $60 and all the way up from there) and I find it excruciating to find a 52 mm version to fit my kit lens.

So my question is -- do I really have to get one of these to avoid these blotchy skies, or can I get away with it by shooting in RAW and throwing in some good post-processing?

Any ideas?

P.S. This whole 'filters' thing could also be an idea for a workshop, I guess? That's also why I post this down here.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 10:16 am 
RAW will help although I think you need an ND grad more than a polariser.

Oh, and you could try HDRs as well.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 10:36 am 
Naah you dont really need a polarising filter, but as grah stated an ND grad is what your looking for. But ur just in the situation like mine (student) and we dont have alot of money!

Well i recently learned a way to show the colour of that brigh sky, what u do is that open the image in photoshop, copy the lyaer (ctrl+j) and then on tha new layer u press adjust the curve and you bend to the right untill you can see some sort of sky, when bending the curve to the right it will make the whole image darker but this isnt a problem becuase you just want to focus on the sky, now add a layer mask, fill it with black (Edit>Fill>Black) and then select a white paint brush and paint on that area where you want the actual curve to appear again (over the very brigh sky) and it will work almost like a filter. I been using that because i havent really had the cash flow to get filters, but working on it and saving up


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 2:42 pm 
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I'm sort of struggling with these kind of pictures myself too...
Now, I don't know much about it, but I think HDR should work here?
Anyone familiar with HDR care to explain how they would deal with this?

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 3:04 pm 
U cant avoid that using HDR, the only solution is a filter, bumping down the EV to-2 when taking the shot, and then brining back the foreground! or do as i stated previously on the other post


HDR will render a totaly diffrent outcome, check the tutorial i posted by Photoj...


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 12:35 pm 
Weeeell that would depend on how many -EV stops you need to save the highlights in the clouds. If it isn't too much that you can create a HDR without getting those strong and obviously processed colours.

Try RAW first, it may save you a lot of hassle and bit of money. :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:17 pm 
Paukl, on your other thread "dutch countryside" i took the liberty and edit both of your images giving them a "polarizing" filter witha litte tweak...


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 1:05 am 
OK, I did a little research in the market, no such luck -- some dealers (who reportedly get furious by being called that and not, say, commercial photographers) haven't even heard about an ND grad filter! On the other hand, one allowed me to play around with a polarizer for a couple shots. Being impressed, I cashed out.

Bad thing is, ever since I paid the 50 bucks on it, almost ever since the minute, it's raining like hell down here. No sun means almost no use for a polarizer, and I'm beginning to be ridden with buyer's guilt. I hope the weather clears up by tomorrow, and I can finally put the thing to some good use -- I'll report results when able.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 1:23 am 
I just picked up a circular polarizer for $19 usd at best buy. sure it is a cheap filter but it is working so far.

Nick


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 1:25 am 
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Posts: 1330
Location: Scotland
You don't need sunshine and blue skies to get the best out of a polarizer. Try taking shots with water in them. The polarizer will tone down the water reflections and lend the photo a depth which would otherwise be missing. Likewise with architectural photography. Shiny glass windows?

Experiment with it and you might be surprised what you can create. Good luck.

Zorro 8)

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 12:16 pm 
Nick12984 wrote:
I just picked up a circular polarizer for $19 usd at best buy. sure it is a cheap filter but it is working so far.

Nick


i will be picking up that one to and giving it a go, Nick did u get this one


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 5:34 am 
alex168 wrote:

i will be picking up that one to and giving it a go, Nick did u get this one


Yup. that would be the one :)

Nick


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 8:40 am 
Was kinda eager to get a reply on this one Nick, have you tried it out and how do you like it?


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