The stories behind the images

The stories behind the images
chairs, rome

Monday, July 18, 2011

perfect polarisers - guest blog by danielle lancaster

There is one piece of photography gear I never leave home without. Its small, weighs next to nothing and is invaluable when I want to get as much of my image making correct in camera: a necessity for many of us travel photographers. We want to be travelling, not spending precious hours processing.

It’s my polarising filter. In fact, I have one for every lens and only take them off when I don’t need them.

Most may already know the polariser gives us wonderful blue skies and white clouds but its uses are far more than just that. They also increase colour and saturation in our images more to what our human eyes tell our brain we see.

Another use is to cut down or eliminate reflections. This can encompass a myriad of situations such as:
• photographing from within a vehicle such as a tour bus, plane or train;
• subjects behind glass panels such as in shop windows or in aquariums or zoos;
• reflections from foliage;
• reflections from water, sand, snow, ice
• reflections off many objects covered with water such as marine animals, rocks

Image by Anita Bromley/ Bluedog Photography
This splendid animal of Africa was captured at Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland Australia by Bluedog Photographer and teacher Anita. The tiger was sitting behind a huge glass panel and the polariser eliminated the reflections on the glass of other people watching the animal beside Anita.

Image by Danielle Lancaster
This magnificent image of a humpback whale was taken by Danielle during one of the Bluedog Photography Fraser Island Tours where participants get to go on a whale watching tour. Without a polarising filter, the whale’s body under the water would not be visible and there would have been unsightly highlights caused from water reflecting off the whale’s body out of the water.

Many think a polariser should never be used on an overcast day, yet I disagree. I use my polariser while photographing in the rainforest on overcast days as it increases the contrast and saturation to what my eye tells me I see. In the end what I get out of camera is closer to what I really see and therefore less I have to do in my new digital darkroom which simply means more time for photography!

Image by Danielle Lancaster

And one of the best uses is when photographing a rainbow. They work absolutely brilliantly in this situation to give wonderful colours but be careful you can remove the rainbow from your scene by simply turning the polariser!

A couple of tips when using a polariser:
• Make sure the polarisation is not uneven;
• Make sure the polarisation is not overdone or looks too unnatural unless there is a specific mood you are creating;
• Watch your shutter speed – the polariser absorbs light. Most TTL metering systems inside your camera compensate for this;
• Don’t forget to turn it – yes I know it sounds simple but believe me I’ve met many who did not know they even had to turn it in the first place.

And if you haven’t bought one yet, only purchase a circular polariser as they work with any lens on autofocus. A must for any busy travel photographer and wildlife photographer.

Danielle Lancaster is a professional photographer who loves sharing her passion with others. Her company Bluedog Photography shoots a range of imagery for corporate and private clients and runs Bluedog Photography Courses, Retreats and Tours
Contact: (07) 5545 4777 or visit

discount on bluedog fraser island photography tour

Last year Capture Italy was introduced to Danielle Lancaster from Bluedog Photography Workshops, Retreats and Tours. We caught up with Danielle again recently and she has kindly written a guest blog for us to share with you – see above. It’s about that essential photographic tool she never leaves home without!

Danielle and her team run a wide range of workshops and tours. Like us, Danielle shares a philosophy of small group tours catering for all photographers whether they are enthusiastic beginners or experienced professionals.

Check out the Bluedog website

A special tour Bluedog holds each year is the Bluedog-Kingfisher Bay Resort Fraser Island Photography Tour. This fabulous Tour into a World Heritage listed wilderness area includes the lot and allows you to explore some of Danielle’s favourite haunts on the island – even the four wheel drive and driver are supplied so you get to concentrate solely on your photography!

A few of the highlights of the tour include visiting ancient rainforests, sand blows, spectacular fresh-water lakes and seeing remarkable wildlife, the famous 75-Mile Beach, coloured sands, shipwrecks and a whale watching your to photograph the giants of the sea, the mighty Humpback whales, up close!

We are delighted to announce that Capture Italy clients will receive a $100 AUD discount on the 2011 tour which will run from Friday 26th August to Monday 29th August! There are still limited spaces available at the time of writing and don’t forget to let them know you are from Capture Italy to get this great discount!

For more email or visit