A quick thought about polarizing filters…

While test various styles of diffusers I came across a one involving a rather unique method of removing highlights: cross polarization. As detailed in Wil Hershberger’s article here, this technique involving a polarizing filter and special polarizing film to cover the flash(s). I constructed a similar setup to the one shown in Wil’s article but with the Canon 100mm macro lens and MT-24 EX macro twin lite.

On the whole, the results of these tests were fairly pleasing – little to no highlights and pretty good color. But this did not hold for insects with iridescent coloration; the images of these species were dull and lacking in much of the natural coloration. Below is a combined series of the better images:

In all I found this method reasonable for only certain insects – ones with much iridescent coloration (particularly tiger beetles) were not well represented by this method.

  1. Well, if it doesn’t work so well with tiger beetles that’s an automatic killer for me. Too bad, cuz it looks pretty good with the insects you show above.

  2. Interesting post. I’d probably prefer to do more digital editing than complicated lighting rig, though, especially out in the field. Maybe I just need more time to absorb it and allow my brain to wake up then read it again!

  3. Thanks for the tip Chris! I will have to give this technique a try!

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