Friday, February 17, 2017

Ice Ice Baby

I have a new photography toy: a filter for my camera: a CPL, or circular polarizer. It was a gift from Deb. Thanks, Deb! Having fresh tools available allows me to expand my creativity within my photography pursuits.

Amusingly, I was actually looking to get a neutral density (ND) filter, not a CPL, so I could capture long water exposures, and while I still may get an ND filter at some point, I thought I'd experiment with a CPL filter first. It can be used as a makeshift ND filter, too, since it stops down the light by 2-3 f-stops. Classically, a CPL allows one to see under water, rather than to capture water's reflections. But adding a CPL can also change the look of photos in other ways, mainly to add saturation, but in a totally different way than can be accomplished through post processing software.  The effects of adding a polarizer on one's camera can generally not be duplicated by post processing.

To get the full polarizing effect, one needs to shoot at 90 degrees from the direction of the sun, and rotate the filter to maximize the effect. While often used for landscapes in this way, I decided to take some pictures of ice, because, well, I like pictures of ice, and I thought, just maybe the polarizer would give them more punch.

My favorites are shown below. These are all photos of the same rather large icicle that was hanging on the back of our house. All photos are taken with my 12-40mm lens and most are cropped so we can get in closer to the ice.

The blue tone in this first one was from the nice blue sky background, and use of the CPL, presumably, which is known to often make blue skies bluer. Believe it or not, I did not add any blue and hardly adjusted the color saturation at all, in post.

Blue Chisel

Yet, this one loses most of the blue, and instead we see more solid black lines.

Diamond Ice

Blues and Browns

Silver Swords

Psychedelic Bubble Magic

P.S. Did you know that "Ice Ice Baby" has the exact same underlying bass line as Queen and David Bowie's "Under Pressure"? Vanilla Ice ended up paying for the privilege; you can read all about it in Wikipedia in entries for these two song titles.

All photos © 2017, all rights reserved.  Contact me for licensing or to order prints.