Panoramas, and Why the Polarizer Is Not Your Friend

What could be more natural than using a circular polarizer on a sunny day with a few clouds? What better way to bring some definition to those clouds, intensify the colors without introducing weird PhotoShop-y elements, and darken up that sky? And, if you're intending to take multiple shots to create a panorama later, wouldn't that polarizer be even more useful?

Here's what I learned when I examined those would-be panorama shots back on the big screen (as opposed to my 3 inch viewfinder): that polarizer is NOT your friend if you want to stitch shots together. Sure, the sky looks more intense, but that intensity jumps around from shot to shot, as the angle of the sun hitting the polarizer changes. Some shots will have oddly intense areas, others will be a little paler. . .

Luckily, I did manage to avoid this problem--by dumb luck--with a few of my intended desert panoramas. Next time I will know there's a better way to keep the dust off my lens.

Photo credits: Charles Sichel-outcalt.

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March 18, 2008


I'm glad this helped. I guess I learned the hard way ;)

I checked out your portfolio. The shots of Sofia make me want to visit even more. I have friends living there who are always trying to convince me to fly over. Looks like a beautiful city.

March 18, 2008


Thanks for the tip! I'm planing to buy a CPL filter so as far as I am a panorama-holic (I got some panoramas in my portfolio), I will follow you in not using it!

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