Many photographers don’t use polarizers
Shame on you! ;-)
Even fewer do infrared
Thus – this post definitely has a very small readership,
The practitioners of this rare combination
Here it is anyway for the three of you out there
and for the others who are merely curious
There is a lesson to be learned
Click to enlarge
Surreal Sinuous Path to ?
Wherever Your Imagination Takes You
Nikon 18-70 DX, circular polarizer, tripod
Q – Are there benefits to using a circular polarizer
when making infrared images?
A – Yes, but they are minimal
A tad more detail -
Q – What might that minimal benefit be?
A – With reflections
The contrast can be improved (sometimes)
A more complete answer for you three still with me on this -
A CP can help (or not) with three things in normal photography -
1. Sky and cloud color & contrast
2. Flora color (often saturation) and contrast
3. Reflections (but not bare metal)
This applies to both color & B&W photography
(ignoring the color saturation benefits in B&W)
How about these three areas when it come to IR?
1. Sky & Clouds
IR, by its very nature, always reduces the atmospheric moisture & haze
The very thing that makes a CP sometimes useful
Note the clarity in the clouds – especially at right
Read more here
The effect of IR on haze
Further, IR does it regardless of the camera’s orientation to the sun
As compared to CP’s orientation requirements
Making it a far more useful “sky tool”
CP provides no benefit in this area
2. Flora color – no color thus no real benefit with a CP here
3. Reflections (so far we’re batting zero for two)
Reflection control seems to provide an observable result
Not as “observable” as seen in the viewfinder
and – Not always a “big” improvement
The benefit, where there is one, IMO is
An improvement in image contrast
If the reflection makes a dark area brighter and
The surrounding area is already bright
Using a CP to make the dark darker
Will usually help contrast
This is image (and direction) dependent
Direction because of CP’s directionality dependence
A CP has beneficial potential for
IR images where reflections occur
Path in this image was wet & “shiny” – especially past the bridge
The CP effect is noticeable (overall darker path)
But not enough to make-or-break the result
Click for full screen
This is about as good as it gets with polarization & IR
Not much to get excited about (but I’ll take it)
The moral of this story -
Using a circular polarizer when capturing infrared images
and might help when reflections are involved
Not the must-have accessory that it is for color
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