Letter of the Week: Polarizing without a Polarizer

Recently I was out shooting without a polarizing filter. I wanted to achieve darker blue from the sky. I was pleasantly surprised to find that by increasing the shutter speed, the desired result was accomplished, while still maintaining adequate detail in shadows. Please see the attached spreadsheet with thumbnails as an example. Also attached is my favorite shot from the series.

To: POP Editor
Subject: True Blue

Dear Popular Photography,

Recently I was out shooting without a polarizing filter. I wanted to achieve darker blue from the sky. I was pleasantly surprised to find that by increasing the shutter speed, the desired result was accomplished, while still maintaining adequate detail in shadows. Please see the attached spreadsheet with thumbnails as an example. Also attached is my favorite shot from the series.

Sincerely,
Jon Arnett
Beaumont, CA

(photo by Jon Arnett)
Click here for his spreadsheet: Download true_blue2.xls

How does this work? Senior Editor Peter Kolonia explains:

“It’s underexposure. He gets away with it because the subject is strongly and evenly front lit, so can stand a little less exposure. If the subject was darker or side-lit, the shadows would be fully blocked up/blacked up with an exposure that rendered the sky that blue.

He may also have the camera set to the super saturated mode. The greens are just as goosed as the blues.”

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