ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Taking Photos with Dark Blue Sky with White Clouds - Polarizing Filters - How to Take Pictures and Get Blue Sky

Updated on June 16, 2011

Blue Skys and White Clouds.

Would you like to capture a nice dark blue sky with white fluffy cloads in your photo?

It's easy if you have the right tool and you know how to use it.

That tool is a polarizing filter.

Polarizing Filters

If you have ever worn a pair of good sunglasses with polarized lenses you have seen the effects of polarizing filters first hand.

Outside light bounces off of objects all around you, creating unwanted scattered light rays. A Polarizing Filter cleans up the light which enters your camera lens and removes those scattered light rays. Using a polarizing filter will give your pictures better color saturation and higher contrasts, which means darker blue skies and whiter clouds. A polarizing filter will also do wonders for cutting down on bad reflections from water and glass.

Use the right angle

You will see the greatest effect of polarization at 90 degrees from the sun. So if you are trying to get that dark blue sky and white fluffy sky make sure to have the sun directly to your left or right. As you turn away or towards the sun you will get less of an effect from the poalirizer.

Give it a spin

Both Circular and Linear Polarizing Filters are made to spin. As you turn the filter it will change the angle of polarization.So don't forget to rotate your polarizing filter to make sure you are getting the effect you are looking for.

Circular and Vertical Polarizers

There are two primary types of polarizing filters, Circular Polarizers and Linear Polarizers.

If you are using a SLR you will probably need a Circular Polarizer. This is because the auto focus and light metering systems in most modern SLRs use a beam splitter which does not work correctly with linear Linear Polarizers.

If you are using a manual focus or non SLR camera you can use a Linear or Circular Polarizer.

The uneven polarization can be seen in the blue of the sky. You can also see the edges of the filter in the upper left and right corners of this photo.
The uneven polarization can be seen in the blue of the sky. You can also see the edges of the filter in the upper left and right corners of this photo.

Wide Angle Lens

There are two problems with using a polarizing filter with a wide angle lens.

Vignetting

Since polarizing filters are made to rotate they may be larger than other filters and extend further past the lens than a standard filter. This can cause the sides of the filter to be picked up in the photo and darken the edges.

To get around this problem filter manufacturers make wide anlgle lens filters which are slimmer than normal filters. Of course you will pay a premium for these filters. Alternatively, you can use a step up ring with a larger diameter filter. Although you again will be paying more for a larger diameter filter and end up with an oversized filter on the end of your lens.

Uneven Polarization

A wide angle lens can widen the angle of view so much that you may see a noticeable gradient across the sky. This goes back to our optimal 90 angle from the sun. As the angle from the sun changes on one side of the photo to the other you will actually see the difference in the amount of polarization. 

Polarizers and Mirrors

You can test if a polarizing filter is a linear or circular polarizer by holding it up to a mirror.

A circular polarizer will be dark black when you hold the inside (lens facing) side towards the mirror and gray when you flip it over. A linear polarizer will be be black when you hold either side to the mirror.

Polarizers and Monitors

Since the light from the monitor is at a uniform angle you can rotate the filter you can completely block out all light from the monitor.

After you block out the light try holding objects between the filter and a monitor with a complete white screen for a very interesting effect.

Other Tips

If the sky is very bright and overpowering the rest of your shot, a Split Neutral Density Filter is a great tool to darken the sky without darkening the rest of your photo.

Another way to create photographs with stunning skys is through HDR (High Dynamic Range) Photography. With HDR you can easily create photographs where both the sky and the rest of your photo is perfectly exposed. Plus you can use HDR Tone Mapping to create some real eye poping photographs.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      coriwbaker 

      6 years ago

      Great information and insights! Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      YankeesFan 

      7 years ago

      These are some good tips for blue sky photography. The polarizing filter is the best tip. I found another article at FreePhotoCourse.com that explains it in even more detail and has some other great tips for getting really rich dark skies with white puffy clouds.

      Here's the URL for the article:

      http://freephotocourse.com/how-to---dramatic-dark-...

    • profile image

      jace 

      8 years ago

      great posting! very nicely explained.. Thanks for sharing

    • nikki1 profile image

      nikki1 

      8 years ago

      cool pictures. Just gave u a thumbs up.

    • profile image

      paulgc 

      8 years ago

      great hub, ive just been holding my polariser up in front of my screen and was amazed to see the screen turn black when i rotated the polariser. The front elements of my lenses rotate when focusing so using a polariser does become troublesome and as a consequence i don't use my polariser very much at all.

      thanks for the hub.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)