How did you do that?

Over the past few months, several people have messaged me on Instagram and the book of faces asking how I get the water in a lot of my shots to be so clear and colorful. Well, this seemed like a great time to pass along a little of what I have learned over the years.

Canyon Lake Sunrise-23

First I will answer the most common question I am asked on this subject, No, I didn’t use photoshop to paint in colors and detail. As you can see in the image above, the water in the foreground is very vibrant and clear. You can see the rocks and details under the water, and it looks almost a tropical color.

As much as I would like to say I have some secret skill or a magic wand that creates this look, It’s really much more simple that most people think. So in the majority of my outdoor landscape images, I use a filter that is called a Circular Polarizer. Here is a little of the science behind the filter.


The light that reflected off of a non-metallic surface becomes polarized. This effect is strongest at angles about 56° from the lens. A polarizer rotated to pass only light polarized in the direction perpendicular to the reflected light will absorb a lot of it. This allows glare reflected from water to be reduced.

So to simplify that, as you are looking through a lens with a Circular Polarizer attached, if you turn the polarizer you will notice the glare reduction and in some cases, disappear. There are 2 images below that illustrate this.

 

Both images are with the same settings, with a circular polarized and have the same post-processing adjustments. The image on the right is un-polarized and as you would see if there were no filter on the lens. The image on the left is the polarized image after turning the polarized about a half turn. You can see the difference mainly in the reflections off the water. The polarized image has very little reflection which allows you to see the detail under the water. In addition to the detail, you can see more of the color through the water.

For this image, I actually went with a semi-polarized shot because the contract created by the reflections improved the overall look. That’s just my opinion though.

5 Mile Dam, Sam Marcos-12-Edit

There are a variety of Circular Polarizers on the market from a number of manufacturers. After using several different types, I am now using the LeeFilters system. They have wonderful clarity in the glass and the system is easy to use. If you are interested in learning more, there is a link HERE.

Hopefully, this has helped answer some of the questions you may have about photography. There are always new techniques and products coming out, I am learning more and more every day. Let me know if there is something more you would like to know and I will see about getting an answer for you.

Published by

Red 5 Photography, Jason Squyres

Red 5 Photography is the alter ego of Jason Squyres, a New Braunfels, Texas Based Landscape Photographer. “When I was young, I can’t remember what age, I picked up my fathers Canon FTb and never looked back”. It all started with film cameras and then on to digital, but always Canon. If I am nothing else, I am a faithful. When I started pointing a camera at things and pushing buttons, it was to satisfy my creative side, and that is true to this day. It wasn’t ever anything that I thought about doing for a living because that would take the enjoyment out of it, or so I thought. When I realized I could make money doing something I love, well that was all icing. Photography isn’t cheap after all. Over the past few years, I have been blessed enough to have my images in various magazines, featured on several websites, and even won a few awards here and there. It is still to this day, humbling and makes me a little uncomfortable. Behind the camera is where I prefer to be and for some reason, I have never been comfortable with the attention. Photography is something that I truly love, it has changed my life in many ways, I like to think they have all been positive. Landscape photography goes hand in hand with another favorite past time, being in the great outdoors. Some of my favorite memories come from heading out for a well-planed photo trip, just to be denied the opportunity to even take the camera out due to weather or conditions. Getting out to a location and just enjoying Gods creations can be better than any image I may have wanted to take. Life outside of photography is filled with a lot of support from my greatest love and what I consider to be proof that everyone has a special someone out there, Mrs. Red 5 herself. Stephanie and I got married in September of 2010 and I love her more than Snape loves Lily. When I am not out getting lost in Texas, we eat, drink, and travel with the occasional Netflix marathon spent not getting off the couch. If you're interested in learning more, shoot me a message. Meeting new people with an obsession for photography is something I always enjoy, and I am always open for new projects and ideas.

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