lesson 4: manipulate reality: film, lenses, filters and more

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    The circular polarizer made a huge difference on these outdoor pictures.
    I also took many pictures with the UV filter and didn’t see any difference on those the pictures.

    Duncan Rawlinson

    Hello and thank you for submitting this assignment.

    Yes, the circular polarizing filter has made a substantial difference in the interpretation of the colors in your composition. The blues in the sky are substantially more noticeable.

    I’m not sure exactly what type of polarizing filter you purchased, but many of them rotate while they are attached to your camera. This allows you to quickly alter the way the light is being received by the filter and therefore allows you to adjust the contrast and saturation of the colors within the shot.

    My only concern with the shot that uses the polarizing filter is that the exposure of the foreground and middle ground is a little dark. The trees in the foreground are almost completely silhouetted (which I think is fine) but the middle ground (grass, shrubs etc) are a little underexposed. I’m not sure if you used your manual exposure setting with the intention to exaggerate the colors in the sky (lowing your exposure levels helps you achieve this goal) but don’t forget that you need to take the entire composition into consideration.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of exaggerating the color in the sky by slightly decreasing your exposure levels, but when you do this you need to consider the entire frame carefully. This is especially true when you’re shooting digital (rather than film) stills because digital camera’s have a much harder time handling larger variances in dynamic range. We’ve written an entire blog post on the topic here:


    This means that in order to get your foreground and middle-ground properly exposed you may have had to “blow out” your sky. This wouldn’t have been desirable either. So you’re left with a couple options.

    1. You can wait for the lighting of the natural environment to change so there is less of a variance between light and dark areas of your composition.

    2. You can either look for a new environment or frame your current environment differently. If you wanted to keep the deep, rich blues in the sky, then remove your middle ground all together. What about just framing the silhouette of the trees against the blue sky? Even though you’ll loose all of the detail in the trees at least it will look like you’ve intentionally designed the frame that way.

    Overall, great work on this assignment! I’m looking forward to seeing what you do next.

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