Friday, December 26, 2008

Polarizing Filters

Light reflecting off from surfaces such as water or metal can appear diffuse and fuzzy. Adding a polarizing filter (much like polarizing sun glasses) only allows light to come in at one angle. Skies are bluer, haze is reduced, and colors appear more saturated because there is less glare. Reflections on windows and water are reduced so that you can see through to whatever is inside/below. Go here to see with and without images on Wiki. Think of light coming through shutters on a window. This photo, Escape Route, is of the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park in California. The wind was blowing the water across the lake in ripples and with a polarizing filter it takes on an almost velvet appearance near the top and the corduroy near the bottom.
Hetch Hetchy is a controversial reservoir that resulted when the Tuolomme River was dammed up to provide water and power for San Francisco. John Muir, among others, led a losing battle to preserve the Hetch Hetchy valley. While they were unsuccessful, the experience of the loss of the valley gave fuel to protests that prevented a dam that would have filled the Grand Canyon.

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