If I remember – which I frequently don’t – I take my polarizer with me when I am going to photographing scenery. With our trip up into the Cascades, we went to the overlook of Diablo Lake and the sun was reflecting off the surface of the lake waters. I took two shots – one with the polarizer rotated to remove the glare and one with the glare in full effect. I was interested to see which of the shots I preferred when I got home. The color of the lake is very nice but sometimes the reflections are more interesting. I include both here to show just how much of a difference the polarizer makes and for you to decide which is to your taste.
I have photographed the birds on San Francisco Bay quite frequently. One image that I have seen many times there is hard to reproduce through still photography. That is the sight of a flock of birds wheeling around as one and catching the light on their wings as they do so. It is quite impressive to watch as the flock will flying in a direction for a moment with the light bouncing from their wings before turning suddenly and almost disappearing from view as the wings become shaded and angled away from the viewer.
The pictures here are a couple that show the difference between the two extremes. Sadly, without video, I cannot show exactly how it appears but the still make it clear just how much the visibility of the birds changes as the angle to the light varies.
Living in a high rise in the city, I have a lot of chances to shoot things that I can only see through the windows. This has been a tricky thing to deal with over time and I have come up with various solutions with varying success. A couple of times I have thought about making something myself to be the solution but have never got around to it.
Now someone has made something that pretty much does what I want. It is called the Lenskirt. It is a black squared funnel that has a fabric sock at the base which cinches around the barrel of your lens. I has four suckers at the four corners that will attach it to glass. The idea is that it blocks any light coming in from the side and reflecting off the glass and back into the lens.
I love this idea. However, the $49 price seemed a little steep for what it is. However, i did buy one and it has just arrived. Overall, I am quite pleased with it. My suspicions about it being a bit overpriced seem valid but it does do what I want. Moreover, it handles my widest lens (the 17mm) without any problem. It allows flexibility of placement so you can shoot at an angle without seeing the skirt. Therefore, while it is a bit pricey, the alternative is something I have never bothered to do so it is probably worth it to me.
This could have other applications other than shooting through normal windows. It might be useful in an aircraft when you can’t open a window to shoot out as well. I am never a fan of shooting through something since the surface is often of poor quality but sometimes you have no choice.
Could it be improved? Yes. I would have made the rim stitched to sit flat to a surface when attached rather than having to bend out. Also, I might consider a slightly more rectangular shape given the format of shooting (although that would impact on the ability to fold it flat). It is slightly wider than deeper but given the need to look sideways sometimes, a little more width might be good. (The shot above makes it look a lot wider than it really is by the way!) I might also have gone for a less reflective black material just in case. As I try it more, we shall see if other issues come up. However, so far, a welcome addition to my bag.