Nikon D7100, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII lens @70mm, f/8, 5 seconds, ISO 400, B+W Polarizing Filter, finished in Adobe Lightroom 5

I was pretty disappointed when I arrived at the Grand Canyon the other evening. Well, as disappointed as you can be looking into layers of eternity with colors splashing around before you. The thing is, the Canyon often fills with haze, and it reduces contrast and makes photographs look a little less awesome. There was a good bit of haze that night, hence the disappointment. However, I placed my polarizing filter on the lens, and practically eliminated the haze. The haze is visible because it is particles in the air that reflect light. The polarizer makes the haze disappear because it all but eliminates reflections. What a great tool!
Pro Tip: You’ll see the polarizers labeled as “circular polarizers” when you’re shopping for them; this isn’t because they are a circle shaped piece of glass that screws onto the front of the lens. There’s another kind of polarizer that is called linear. Linear polarizers went out of fashion because auto focus lenses couldn’t work with them, so circular polarizers were developed. I don’t know the physics of it, but circular is the kind of polarization it does, not the shape of the filter. When you shop for one at the the store, just ask for a polarizer. It’s not necessary to distinguish it as a circular polarizer, as linear are not readily available. (If the clerk asks if you want a circular polarizer, you probably know more about it than he does ;)
To use the filter, you simply screw it onto the lens, then look through the viewfinder and adjust the moveable ring until the picture looks better. When looking through the camera, always adjust the ring in a counter-clockwise motion so that it is always turning onto the lens. Adjust clockwise too many times and it may fall off unexpectedly.
One more thing: it’ll cost more, but it’s worth getting a polarizer with a brass ring. Most are made of steel and easily jam on the lens, but the brass will never seize. Trust me, when there are temperature changes, the steel ones jam almost every time.

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October 31, 2013

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