Power of A Polarizer: Story Behind My New Blog Header Image

December 11th, 2007

I’ve had several comments and questions about my blog header image that’s along the top of the blog now so I thought I’d do a post on the story behind this image since it is one of my favorite images.

First of all thanks Shaun for pointing out that the original image that came with this WordPress theme really needed replacing. I got so wrapped up in the technical details of moving the blog to this new hosting service I had not thought much about the header image. (By the way the hosting service is and I really like their hosting service. I highly recommend it!)

This image was the primary exterior image for a home we listed 4 years ago on Seattle’s eastside. Mr seller, who was a professional photographer, was very proud of his little lake surrounded by 5 acres of beautifully manicured grounds. He had personally built the lake and felt the lake was the primary selling point of the property and consequently wanted it to look stunning. I shot the photos for this home in 3 trips because I had to work around and wait for the stagger. The first trip the weather was not very bright. I shot all the 360’s on this trip because 360s always work better when the light is not too bright. Here is the 360 of the lake standing on the little dock. When Mr. seller reviewed the 10 or so exterior photos that I’d shot the first trip he didn’t like the way the lake looked and suggested that I use a polarizer to enhance the look of the lake. I had a polarizer for my Canon 16-35 but after much searching I couldn’t find a way to put a polarizer on my Sigma 8mm fisheye. The front surface is curved and has no accommodation for a polarizing screen. Mr seller was very disappointed that the 360s could not be polarized. I’ll have to admit 360 of the lake looks muddy and uninspiring compared to the polarized still of the same lake.

On the second day shooting outside with a polarizer I stumbled on this view of the lake and the house that I’d not seen the first day just about the time the sun broke through the continual Seattle overcast. Mr Seller was pleased with this image so I used it on both a flyer and the outside of a 11×17″ 4 page brochure. The eventual buyer was also impressed with the image and insisted on keeping all the unused brochures and flyers to give to his friends. It always feels good to be appreciated.

This whole episode with Mr Seller left a lasting impression on me on how much difference a polarizer can make. I didn’t discover how much the image was improved by cropping out the sky until I cropped the image long and skinny for a chapter heading banner in my E-book. So when Shaun pointed out I needed a new header image I knew exactly which one to use.

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7 Responses to “Power of A Polarizer: Story Behind My New Blog Header Image”

  • Everything you said is very true. I think that knowing how to use filters (not just physical filters but also digital filters in PS) are just some of the tools and techniques that separate RE photographers from the typical RE agent who does their own photography. It’s a shame more agents don’t take advantage of this…

  • I like the new header Larry – such a great piece of photography.

  • […] Source and Read More: Photography for Real Estate […]

  • Larry, re: polarizing a 8mm fish, you can fit a polarizer on the ring that the cap snaps to, but of course your FOV will be restricted if you shoot with it on. You may want to investigate the physics of polarization a little; it doesn’t work well for panoramas. Try it sometime w/ your 16-35.

  • @Scott,
    Yes, since this shoot that I was posting about I always carry a polarizer.

    You are right, the polarizing effect of coarse depends on the angle of the sun so when shooting shots in all directions for use in stitching it makes no sense to use a polarizer… at the time when I didn’t realize this.

  • I find that I’m using a circular polarizer on my exterior shots about half the time, mainly to bring out the sky.

  • The link to the 360° seems to be wrong : http://http//
    Replace it with the correct one :

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