Polarize Your Pumpkin

You’ve probably never thought of a pumpkin as being particularly shiny, but in fact, like many other common objects, their surface is glossy enough to produce glare. Glare is a photographer’s worst enemy. Glare appears as areas of blocked highlights that are completely devoid of detail. Remove the glare and the entire surface of the pumpkin appears in full rich color and lush detail.

How? Use a polarizing filter.

Polarizers darken a blue sky—that’s the most common application—but they also remove ambiguous reflections even from the surface of water. They work equally well on leaves, car fenders, shop windows and a myriad of other objects.

Simply screw the polarizer into the front of your DSLR lens and rotate it until you achieve the maximum results. You can see the glare both intensify and diminish right in the viewfinder (or on the LCD). So you can add glare as well as remove it, although I’m struggling to imagine a reason why you’d want to increase glare.

Your camera probably requires a circular polarizer (most autofocus DSLR cameras do). And if you have a point-and-shoot you might be out of luck. Or maybe not. The Cokin Creative Filter System offers a couple of ways to attach polarizers to non-DSLR cameras—check it out at your local camera specialty store or visit www.cokin.com .