Do you use polarizer for wildlife?





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  1. #1
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    Default Do you use polarizer for wildlife?

    Hi,

    Do you still use cir-pol filter in African wildlife photography ?

    I'm going to buy one, but it's so expensive that I do not know if it's worth it.

    -juha

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    Default Re: Do you use polarizer for wildlife?

    Quote Originally Posted by Juha S. View Post
    Hi,

    Do you still use cir-pol filter in African wildlife photography ?

    I'm going to buy one, but it's so expensive that I do not know if it's worth it.

    -juha
    If at full polarization you cut almost two stops immediately. Not sure that is what you want when looking for highest shutterspeeds with long lenses.
    "Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something, you are not here long"
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Do you use polarizer for wildlife?

    Never used or needed one for wild life .It is just another complication I do not need while taking action shots.

    They are however useful for landscapes.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Do you use polarizer for wildlife?

    I use it on my tele zoom most of the time. Loosing two stops is not a problem, just bump up jour ISO. Low light wildlife photography has enough drama, but during the middle of the day a polarising filter gives some punch to your photographs with deep blue skies, white clouds contrasting with blue skies, etc. It is easy to take off when not needed and easy to put back when you need it.I am lucky in that all my lenses from 24mm to 400mm use the same size filter - so one polariser, one infra red, one attachment for neutral density and graduated glass filters and bobís your uncle!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Do you use polarizer for wildlife?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheoP View Post
    Never used or needed one for wild life .It is just another complication I do not need while taking action shots.

    They are however useful for landscapes.
    To a degree they are useful for some landscapes, over the years I have stopped using one though.
    "Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something, you are not here long"
    Walker Evans, Photographer

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Do you use polarizer for wildlife?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam16 View Post
    I use it on my tele zoom most of the time. Loosing two stops is not a problem, just bump up jour ISO. Low light wildlife photography has enough drama, but during the middle of the day a polarising filter gives some punch to your photographs with deep blue skies, white clouds contrasting with blue skies, etc. It is easy to take off when not needed and easy to put back when you need it.I am lucky in that all my lenses from 24mm to 400mm use the same size filter - so one polariser, one infra red, one attachment for neutral density and graduated glass filters and bobís your uncle!
    Thanks for your thoughts.I thought the same way.

    I need 52mm Nikon CPL-1L drop-in filter and it's quite expensive.Newones are from R4500 and used around half price.

    Have somebody experience with drop-in filters how they work when the situation is tight and hot....

    -juha

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    Default Re: Do you use polarizer for wildlife?

    Quote Originally Posted by Juha S. View Post
    Thanks for your thoughts.I thought the same way.

    I need 52mm Nikon CPL-1L drop-in filter and it's quite expensive.Newones are from R4500 and used around half price.

    Have somebody experience with drop-in filters how they work when the situation is tight and hot....

    -juha
    I have that very same drop in filter, used it once and then never again, dont actually know why I did not use it. Think it had to do with the 200-400mm not enjoying the D300s and I actually forgot about that filter untill I saw it the last time I was at home on R&R.
    Will give it a try on the fx camera

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Do you use polarizer for wildlife?

    I know people that use it to be able to photograph all day. Early morning late afternoon are generally the best times to photograph. With a polarizer I guess you can photograph all day in harsh light.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Do you use polarizer for wildlife?

    Harsh light is harsh light, regardless of what filter one uses.
    "Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something, you are not here long"
    Walker Evans, Photographer

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Do you use polarizer for wildlife?

    I have polarizers in several sizes, from 77mm to the 52mm drop in. But I haven't used any in years to be honest. They do take away a lot of light, but mainly it is just a hassle to put them in and judge the effect, take them off again etc. I guess I am just getting lazy. With slide film people would take much more care of one image, with digital they just fire away like crazy. I have been old school very long, but I guess even I can't fight the changes.

    With super wide angles you have to be careful as the effect differs depending on the area of the image. So in the corners it might be stronger than in the middle which doesn't look nice.
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Do you use polarizer for wildlife?

    Hi Juha,

    I do not think I have ever used it on wildlife / action shots. I mostly use it on landscape photography when lightning is harsh and do not have the time to come back to the scene with proper light. Further, back in time, when using film (slide film) I used a lot to get richer colours. Now on the digital age you have other means to get the same effect without loosing speed/ depth of field etc...

    AP

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Do you use polarizer for wildlife?

    Polarisers are not particularly useful for wildlife photography if one is using super-telephoto lenses.
    Apart from the fact that most super telephoto lenses cannot accomodate a filter on the front of the lens, a drop-in is required, and some lens may not offer that option, to actually function effectively the lens needs to positioned at 90 degrees to the sunlight.
    Given the scenario in wildlife and bird photography that will be rarely achievable...
    The result is that just knocks off 2 stops of light for no real advantage...

    I would remind everyone that ISO is NOT part of the exposure equation that determines how much light is striking the sensor. ISO is merely a post exposure signal amplification...
    Light is king!
    Given the high shutter speeds required to get good images with super telephoto lenses one is often pushing up the ISO anyway. Even cameras sporting the best in recent Sony sensors still need light and although noise related to A-D signal conversion is dramatically reduced this does nothing for shot noise (shot noise is related to the physics of light and the only solution for shot noise is to get as much light striking the sensor as possible).

    Polarisers can be useful in landscape images, and I like to shoot what I call wildlife landscapes. However, in these scenarios I am usually only shooting at around 200mm focal length or less, and I would use a 70-200mm f2.8 and can easily mount a polariser if required. Also, shooting is a bit slower and more reflective, and I can plan my shot taking the position of the sun and therefore the directionality of light into consideration.
    Also, even with a polariser I will often be able to shoot a base ISO because shutter speeds are not extreme and even if the lens is stopped down for this kind of shot there is still enough light for a good exposure.

    One technique that I have found helpful in wildlife and bird photography, that, paradoxically, is very helpful in bright harsh sunlight is fill-flash. Fill-flash allows better exposure of the shadows and can dramatically improve the quality of one's photography of birds and wildlife. It is helped by the fact that one shoots wide open in these circumstances. It will allow one to expose a little more appropriately, via shutter speed, for that bright sky with fluffy white clouds behind the subject that is often so indistinct and often actually blown out.
    Shoot in raw, and one can fine-tune the result in post-processing.

    So, personally, I find a top-of-the-range flash unit (expensive yes, but then so is a decent polariser) a better solution for dealing with challenging light situations in bird and wildlife photography than a polariser...

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Do you use polarizer for wildlife?

    Tony, when using fill flash as you describe, what flash mode and approximate shutter speed are you using? High speed sync?
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Do you use polarizer for wildlife?

    There's a bit about wildlife photography around halfway down the page https://shuttermuse.com/canon-drop-in-filter-guide/

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Do you use polarizer for wildlife?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Connan View Post
    Tony, when using fill flash as you describe, what flash mode and approximate shutter speed are you using? High speed sync?
    One needs to use high speed sync.
    My shutter speeds are generally pretty high when I have the 500mm f4.0 mounted (usually with either a 1.4 or 2X teleconverter), usually anywhere from 1/1000 or faster.
    The distances involved also usually mean that the flash is firing at full power..

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Do you use polarizer for wildlife?

    My main use of my polariser is for shooting top shots of the ocean or other clear water (removes the glare and makes the water really pop), and for aerial shots, especially when forced to shoot through the windshield or window of a chopper or plane - you can cut out the glare/blue refraction by polarising.
    It can also be useful for landscapes, especially in the desert.
    Tony Weaver

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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Do you use polarizer for wildlife?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Jay View Post
    One needs to use high speed sync.
    My shutter speeds are generally pretty high when I have the 500mm f4.0 mounted (usually with either a 1.4 or 2X teleconverter), usually anywhere from 1/1000 or faster.
    The distances involved also usually mean that the flash is firing at full power..
    Flash beamers (better beamer) certainly will help and may be convenient in increasing DOF.

    AP

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Do you use polarizer for wildlife?

    Quote Originally Posted by apfac View Post
    Flash beamers (better beamer) certainly will help and may be convenient in increasing DOF.

    AP
    Yes, I use an attachment that has a fresnel lens to focus the flash beam in a more concentrated fashion.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Do you use polarizer for wildlife?

    Thanks Tony.

    So for this use, you would presumably recommend one of the more powerful flashes?
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Do you use polarizer for wildlife?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Connan View Post
    Thanks Tony.

    So for this use, you would presumably recommend one of the more powerful flashes?
    Yes, for wildlife I usually shoot with Canon equipment (this changes when I shoot landscape) and I use the 600EX II which is the top-of-the-range Canon flash.

    The more light the better!
    Just that you know: the amount of light striking a subject from a flash unit follows an inverse square pattern.
    What this means is that if the flash is set to deliver the same amount of light with each flash, then, if the distance between the flash and the subject is x, and then the subject is moved further away, to 2x, i.e. doubling the distance only 1/4 of the light strikes the subject compared to before.
    Every speedlight manufacturer publishes tables demonstrating this, relative to the power of the speedlight.

    As the only light source even very powerful speedlights are not particularly helpful even if the subject is more than a very few metres away from the subject, but used in the context of fill-flash there is enough light to just lift the shadows enough to deal with the excess noise and muddy colours in the shadows that so characterise Canon cameras. It also means that one can expose appropriately for the background so that the sky and sunlit grass, etc do not blow.

    I would suggest that if someone was shooting with top-of-the-range Nikon equipment then the requirement to use fill-flash in the way that I do for wildlife and birds may not be such a concern...

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