Effects of Polarizing Camera Filters on Underwater Photography

Polarizing camera filters are designed to eliminate reflections from non-metallic objects. In a specialized field like underwater photography they are extremely useful in making your shots look great because they will neutralize light reflecting particles in the water. These particles will otherwise compromise the beauty of your shots. In order to understand why polarizers are so important you need to understand how underwater photography works.

Underwater photography requires expensive equipment and specialized training in scuba diving. You are working underwater, where there is almost certain chance that if an accident occurs you will drown. Be safe and do not attempt underwater photography without special training. Another reason you need to have some scuba diving experience is because you need to get close to your subjects. If you're not a graceful and calm diver then you'll disturb the marine life and it will swim away from you. In addition to scuba diving training you also need to get waterproof housing for your camera. After all, a digital camera is an electronic device, and electronics and water don't mix well together. These waterproof housing units that protect the camera aren't that cheap either.

Light underwater follows a different set of rules from light on dry land. Sunlight is made up of many different colors but most of the ones at higher wave lengths (red and orange) get absorbed by the water. This makes everything appear blue. Details are quickly lost when viewing a subject underwater. This happens vertically and horizontally in the water column. An object that is 100 feet away will look dark and indistinct, even if more of you are underwater.

So there are two things the photographer does to overcome these obstacles. The first is that he/she gets very close to the subject. At a distance of less then three feet all of the color and contrast details can be accurately captured. So you need wide angle and macro lenses in your bag of tricks too.

This need to be close is why an underwater photographer needs to be a great diver. The other thing the photographer does for his images is use his flash. The flash provides light in the area and brings out the color that was lost in the water.

With all this preparation that goes into underwater photography it is important that we make every effort possible to make sure the images look nothing short of fantastic. That's why we use a polarizer filter. The polarizer helps reward our hard work by insuring that there are not any particles in the water reflecting light at the camera. It's a small effort that helps make good photos great.

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