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Old 18th of February 2007 (Sun)   #1
firehawk24
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Default Polarizing filters for motorsports?

Does anyone use polarizers for motorsports?
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Old 18th of February 2007 (Sun)   #2
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Default Re: Polarizing filters for motorsports?

I highly recommend a circular polarizer
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Old 18th of February 2007 (Sun)   #3
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Default Re: Polarizing filters for motorsports?

absolutely.
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Old 18th of February 2007 (Sun)   #4
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Default Re: Polarizing filters for motorsports?

what happens when you use a polarising filter on cars with perspex windows?

rainbow-effect central and you're the mayor.

I don't use one for that reason.
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Old 18th of February 2007 (Sun)   #5
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Default Re: Polarizing filters for motorsports?

It depends on the lighting - I typically won't use one for races. The rainbow effect comment got a good chuckle out of me
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Old 18th of February 2007 (Sun)   #6
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Default Re: Polarizing filters for motorsports?

No CP. Lots of rainbows for the professional series cars/bikes (high-end exotics as well - their headlight covers go crazy). Also, a CP only really works when it is set for the angle of light you want to remove. So often in motorsports, the cars are moving/turning making the adjustment a per-shot sort of a thing (which is annoying as all heck). If you are really having such a hard time with the light that you need a CP to get a decent result... try shooting a slightly different angle (or at a different time of day) if possible.

-Todd...
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Old 18th of February 2007 (Sun)   #7
firehawk24
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Default Re: Polarizing filters for motorsports?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave_G View Post
what happens when you use a polarising filter on cars with perspex windows?

rainbow-effect central and you're the mayor.

I don't use one for that reason.

LOL
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Old 19th of February 2007 (Mon)   #8
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Default Re: Polarizing filters for motorsports?

Yeah, no CP for motorsports work on a regular basis. Maybe here and there for something specific, but its certainly not needed and many of the best guys I know dont ever use them.

Like someone mentioned, anything that uses clear plastic of any kind will show up rainbowed and silly looking. That includes lexan windshields and headlight covers which are used a ton in pro racing.

Here is a shot I did almost 5 years ago when experimenting with a CP. You can see what a mess the windshield became.



Also, as Todd mentioned, getting it adjusted right on moving vehicles is really really hard and if you dont have it adjusted right, its worthless.

You just need to play the light right when shooting and make sure that you get rid of glare and reflections the best you can the old fashion way, with positioning and thinking about your composition.
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Old 19th of February 2007 (Mon)   #9
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Default Re: Polarizing filters for motorsports?

I have got a circular polarizer, i mainly shoot motorsport and i have never used it

was abit of a waste of money
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Old 19th of February 2007 (Mon)   #10
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Default Re: Polarizing filters for motorsports?

I'm not a pro, but cars and motorsport are at the top of my list, and I use a polarizer whenever I can - especially on cars.

Most of the racecars I shoot are production-based, and IIRC in the USA they mostly use glass windshields (Please correct me if I'm wrong) so the perspex issue is minor. If they are formula cars or other open cockpit cars the windshields are usually not big enough to matter.

Most of the time I use the windshields as my gauge - I adjust the polarizer until I can see through the windshield. I have not had issues with the rainbow effect, but the polarizer cleans up the glare on the body so much I would take it and PS the windshield if necessary. VWPilot shows a shot above with a rainbow windshield, but look how glare-free the hood is - it would be much worse without the polarizer.

The rotation of the polarizer is not a big deal once you are in a spot - adjust it for the effect you want, and unless you are literally "in the middle" of the action you will get at least some benefit from the polarizer. It has to do with the angle of the Sun, and that may change through the day, but not much over the course of a couple minutes.

I say go for it.

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Last edited by CoolToolGuy : 19th of February 2007 (Mon) at 14:47.
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Old 20th of February 2007 (Tue)   #11
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Default Re: Polarizing filters for motorsports?

if it's glass used for side windows and windshields/screens it's not an issue.
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Old 20th of February 2007 (Tue)   #12
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Default Re: Polarizing filters for motorsports?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoolToolGuy View Post

Most of the time I use the windshields as my gauge - I adjust the polarizer until I can see through the windshield. I have not had issues with the rainbow effect, but the polarizer cleans up the glare on the body so much I would take it and PS the windshield if necessary.
That is pretty difficult on moving cars though. I dont have the luxury to take a several laps trying to adjust the polarizer properly on moving cars as they are there and gone within seconds. You really need a static subject to use it effectively and using it on static car shooting is completely different and a good idea to have a CP in your bag.

I also dont have nearly the time to have to PS anything significant like rainbows in a windshield or headlights. Get it right in the camera and leave PS to the artists.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoolToolGuy View Post
VWPilot shows a shot above with a rainbow windshield, but look how glare-free the hood is - it would be much worse without the polarizer.
Not necessarily. Here is a shot from the same corner without a CP (though at a different time). If you have that much glare on a windshield or hood of a car, you should not be shooting there at that time. Go somewhere else where the sun is more appropriate for shooting. Again, I have shot now for years without one, I just use the sun to my advantage instead of my detriment.



If you have the ability to adjust it quickly on moving objects and you think it helps, go for it, there isnt any reason NOT to use it. However, I find it completely unnecessary and just a pain in the butt trying to get it adjusted properly, not to mention the rainbows mentioned at times, so I find it useless for motorsports and something that is better kept in the bag till you have a static shoot planned. I dont see the minor (if any) benefits worth it.
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Old 20th of February 2007 (Tue)   #13
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Default Re: Polarizing filters for motorsports?

The arguments over filters will rage on forever. Each of us has our own thoughts on them.

Jim (VWPilot), I've seen your portfolios and IMHO you produce good work. Speaking only for the two shots you have posted here, the first one (with the polarizer) was shot in one part of the day (as shown by the angle of shadows) and the sun was much brighter than the second shot, which was shot when the sun was on the other side of the car. IMHO the first shot benefitted from the polarizer, and the second shot didn't need one since the sun wasn't out.

If you adjust the polarizer once, small angle changes due to the location of the cars on the track or such will not make that much difference - the polarizer will still provide an effect, and it is highly unlikely (other than the non-glass windshield issue) that it will produce a worse effect than not having one.

I am very much in the "get it right in the camera" camp, but I like what I get on the car bodies, and I will take what I get on the windshields. As I mentioned, good shots can be produced without a polarizer, but I would never consider them worthless.

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Old 20th of February 2007 (Tue)   #14
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Default Re: Polarizing filters for motorsports?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoolToolGuy View Post
Jim (VWPilot), I've seen your portfolios and IMHO you produce good work. Speaking only for the two shots you have posted here, the first one (with the polarizer) was shot in one part of the day (as shown by the angle of shadows) and the sun was much brighter than the second shot, which was shot when the sun was on the other side of the car. IMHO the first shot benefitted from the polarizer, and the second shot didn't need one since the sun wasn't out.
First off, thanks.

Secondly, Exactly my point!

Use the sun to your advantage and you dont need the CP. Thats all. Like I said, I find them very hard to adjust properly on moving cars going at full speed, therefore you are getting a minimal if any advantage out of the filter.

If you simply use the sun to your advantage and find the right spots during the day to get the right looks, then you dont need to concern yourself with a CP. Those shots are the same corner at different times of day, you can tell by the shadows (not to mention a few years apart).

So the point is if you are in a position where the glare is so bad you think you need a CP, then you probably shouldnt be shooting that corner, go and find one that does work for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoolToolGuy View Post
If you adjust the polarizer once, small angle changes due to the location of the cars on the track or such will not make that much difference - the polarizer will still provide an effect, and it is highly unlikely (other than the non-glass windshield issue) that it will produce a worse effect than not having one.

I am very much in the "get it right in the camera" camp, but I like what I get on the car bodies, and I will take what I get on the windshields. As I mentioned, good shots can be produced without a polarizer, but I would never consider them worthless.

Have Fun,
All that is true, and like I said, if you dont have a problem getting it adjusted and you think its helping you, then go for it, its not going to hurt the photos for the most part like you said. For me, and for many who do this for a living, I find them worthless because they just simply are not useful if you are using the sun and lighting right and are careful about your shooting (and I'm not saying you're not). I find them of little to no benefit, therefore worthless. You obviously disagree and thats fine.

I would just never suggest it to someone who is asking about them. They'll likely get into bad habits of trying to use the CP as a crutch for bad lighting and not actually learn how to use the lighting properly so you dont need a CP. Thats just my point, its not necessary and you should learn how to shoot without it first, then if you feel you can make things better with it, try it and see what happens. Just dont get used to using it and thinking that you need it to make good photos.
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