filter polarizer

things that aren’t all the work I have to do
  • I tend to forget that I have some not-fun allergic reactions to old government buildings. Being gone for four days means several days of feeling like death upon returning to work
  • NVCC hasn’t sent my transcripts to UMUC (or it’s taking TWO WEEKS to send transcripts 60 miles), and they’re the last one I need. they’re also the most important, because that’s where I took accounting, which is the pre-req to everything else I have to do. I’m checking my email and school account obsessively
  • I need a polarizing filter for my camera to get a picture of my grasses for a grad student involved with the program this year for a time-lapse video. My grasses are also growing LIKE CRAZY this year, so the video won’t even start at day 1 of growth. It’s only been a week and some are an inch long!

italy pavilion, 12/27/2016

Taking decent photos with a disposable camera is difficult. Adjusting for viewfinder is a skill I never learned as a kid (my main experience with 35mm has always been in SLRs), though I learned to get competent fairly quickly. Frame the shot perfectly, move the camera up and to the left so that the eye’s directly behind the lens, hope for the best. The process is simple after a while—it gets engrained—right up until you start to experiment. Like, for example, that MGM entrance gate double exposure. Or this photo, where I used my sunglasses as a polarizing filter.

Anyways, this is all to say that in the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that this photo has been cropped slightly. Not pictured: a finger in the corner, which I’m ashamed of, but…you try simultaneously holding a pair of sunglasses and a disposable camera, see how well you fare.

Backpacking along the Olympic Coast.  It’s awesome to watch the sunset from such a wild place then fall asleep to the sound of crashing waves.

Olympic National Park, Washington - August 2015

Shot Notes:

Ektar 100 4x5, 90mm Caltar Lens
2 seconds at f22, 3 stop reverse GND and polarizing filters

It’s still hard to believe the colors that appear during a sunset at White Sands.  The bright white sand reflects all the hues of the sky, making the entire landscape look surreal and otherworldly as the sun dips below the horizon.  Using the new panoramic camera I finally got an image that captured the entire event from the deep blues and purples of twilight on the left to the explosive yellows and reds of sunset on the right.  Even the silhouetted Organ mountains in the distance took on a unique color.

I was incredibly excited about this image as I watched the sunset happen.  Only one piece of film came out with all the elements that I wanted, as the colors started to fade from the clouds during a second exposure of this scene.  I’m glad it came out perfectly!

White Sands National Monument, New Mexico - March 2015

Shot Notes:
Velvia 50 6x17, 105mm lens
30 seconds at f32, polarizing filter


Working With Polarizing Filters: From My Physics Lab

Now we all know that waves such as light have the property to oscillate in more than one orientation and that we call Polarization. In the gifs above I had set up a light source and two polarizing filters. Light goes thought the first filter which is set up at 0° and the other one is being rotated to find the maximum and minimum intensity of the light passing through the second filter.

The light source is giving off non-polarized light, but it gets vertically polarized as it goes through the first filter. If the second polarizing filter is set up in the same position as the first one we observe that the light passing through it will be at the maximum intensity, but as we rotate the second filter the intensity of the light drops down to a minimum when we reach the position in which the filters are perpendicular to each other. (in this case, a 90° rotation)


Misty Mountain Hop

So I’m packing my bags for the Misty Mountains
Where the spirits go now,
Over the hills where the spirits fly, ooh.
I really don’t know.
–Led Zeppelin

Shot this on the drive up to Kelcema Lake

Camera: Nikon D800e
Lens: Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G
Focal Length: 50mm
ISO Speed: 100
Aperture: f/9
Shutter: ½ second
Tripod: Really Right Stuff TVC-33
Ball Head: Really Right Stuff BH-55 LR
Filter: Hoya Mooses filters [circ polarizing and 81A warming combined]

Lightroom 5.7 [color balance, sharpening, etc]
Nik Silver Efex Pro2 [b&w]


Technique Shows Energy Dissipate from Projectile Impacts

There’s no reason to read more deeply into the following results of a Duke University physics experiment: When it comes to slamming objects into the ground, harder and faster doesn’t necessarily translate to deeper penetration.

Researchers at the university have been working to understand what happens underground when a meteor or missile strikes earth. They developed a technique to get a slow-motion view of energy dissipating through simulated sand and soil when a metal projectile is dropped on the two different media. Revealing a counterintuitive truth about the physics of colliding objects, their work shows that projectiles experience more resistance when they hit the ground at faster speeds and stop sooner than expected because of it. 

The physicists used clear plastic beads that transmit light differently depending on whether they are compressed or relaxed. By putting a polarizing filter on a slow-motion camera, they were able to record impact energy moving through a pit filled with the beads in transmitted lines called force chains. 

Keep reading


#TravelTuesday with Guest Photographer Bob Wick to Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area – A Quiet Oasis in Urban Southern Florida!

Visitors to the Atlantic Coast of South Florida who want a break from the hustle and bustle of this mostly urbanized area will find a welcome respite in northern Palm Beach County.  The 120-acre Jupiter Inlet Outstanding Natural Area packs in a remarkable array of natural and historical resources in addition to its spectacular namesake lighthouse.  The 105 foot tall brick lighthouse itself, an early homestead, and other historic structures are visitor and photographer mainstays and are open for tours most days. However, don’t end your visit there.  An interpretive trail traverses several Florida coast vegetation types and ends with an overlook of mangrove forest and the intracoastal waterway.

Photo tip: A polarizing filter works just like polarized sunglasses and cuts the glare on the water surface and other objects. This will improve photo clarity of manatees as they remain mostly under water, and also brings out the colors of all scenery – it’s my mainstay filter and as a bonus it (like any filter) protects the camera lens from scratches.

The waters around the ONA offer opportunities for snorkeling, kayaking and stand up paddleboarding past mangroves and other native vegetation. Osprey, herons, egrets and ibis are commonly seen along the shore. In winter, manatees congregate in the adjoining waterways and are often visible surfacing for air right next to shore. Look for gopher tortoises along the trails sunning themselves at mid-day.

Photo tip: When photographing wildlife, try to capture behaviors; an osprey eating a fish, a tortoise walking towards its burro. This makes for more interesting shots than an animal just standing looking at the camera.

Check out our @esri Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse ONA multimedia storymap for more stunning photos, helpful links and a map of the area:

A meadow of lupine high up in the Maroon Bells Wilderness.  I spent the night in my tent just past this meadow, listening to rain patter all night long.  This was my view when I woke up in the morning.

Maroon Bells Wilderness, Colorado - August 2014

Shot Notes:

Velvia 50 4x5, 135mm Fuji Lens

1 second at f22, 2 stop soft GND and polarizing filter.