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The Tiffen 5.650"x5.650" Linear Polarizer Filter is the most popular special effect filter available. Polarizers can create deep blue skies, provide a general saturation to all colors, reduce glare, and minimize reflections. Screw-in Polarizers are featured with rotating mounts for precise control of polarization. It can also be used as an adjustable neutral density filter, with up to two stops loss with full polarization.
Polarizers can darken a blue sky, a key application, on color as well as on black-and-white film, but there are several factors to remember when doing this. To deepen a blue sky, it must be blue to start with, not white or hazy. Polarization is also angle-dependent. A blue sky will not be equally affected in all directions. The areas of deepest blue are determined by the following "rule of thumb." When setting up an exterior shot, make a right angle between thumb and forefinger. Point your forefinger at the sun. The area of deepest blue will be the band outlined by your thumb as it rotates around the pointing axis of your forefinger, directing the thumb from horizon to horizon. Generally, as you aim your camera either more into or away from the sun, the effect will gradually diminish. There is no effect directly at or away from the sun. Do not pan with a polarizer, without checking to see that the change in camera angle doesn't create undesirable noticeable changes in color or saturation. Also, with an extra-wide-angle view, the area of deepest blue may appear as a distinctly darker band in the sky. Both situations are best avoided. In all cases, the effect of the polarizer will be visible when viewing through it.
Polarizers need approximately 1-1/2 to 2 stops exposure compensation, usually without regard to rotational orientation or subject matter. They are also available in combination with certain standard conversion filters, such as the 85BPOL. In this case, add the polarizer's compensation to that of the second filter.
Tiffen Tip: Polarizing filters achieve different effects depending on the photographer's position to the sun. To get maximum darkening of the sky, the photographer stands sideways to the sun (shoulders point to it) with the sun fairly close to the horizon. As he or she turns toward or away from the sun, the darkening is lessened. When the sun is directly overhead, only a small part of the sky near the horizon can be darkened. The Polarizer also removes unwanted reflections in highly reflective surfaces such as on cars or windows. CAT
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