This is a follow on to this previous polarizer post.
Here are three side-by-side images that illustrate the three benefits of using a polarizer. The two images in each pair are identical (same scene & camera settings, tripod, etc.) except for the use of a circular polarizer. Each image is exactly as it came from the camera – no post-processing at all. Click to enlarge.
1. The ability to “dial in” the amount of reflection seen in water –
On the left is the effect of full polarization. On the right is what you’d get with no polarizer. These two aren’t intended to be great images. They simply illustrate that with a polarizer you can, if you choose, reduce reflections to nearly zero.
Note Well – This can’t be done in Photoshop. You either use a CP or live with the consequences.
2. Darken blue skies and “pop” clouds –
The top image is without a polarizer. In the bottom image, we can see its effect on the sky and clouds. But, in addition, note the improved tree top (and see #3 below for an even more vivid example).
3. Increased saturation of colors –
The left image was made with no polarizer. Note how flat and washed out the foliage (leaves and grass) is in comparison to the polarized version. Although we normally think of #1 and #2 above when we think of using a polarizer, in my mind the improvement shown in #3 is just as important – if not more. The saturation effect is usually mentioned in combination with rain and wet foliage, but you can see here that’s not the only time a polarizer is effective for saturating colors.