Re: [OM] Sunglasses, Polarizers and Photography

Subject: Re: [OM] Sunglasses, Polarizers and Photography
From: Winsor Crosby <wincros@xxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 21 Jun 1998 14:08:35 -0500 (CDT)
>Wrote Winsor Crosby:
>>1. I think I got so accustomed to seeing things polarized that I did not
>>notice how bad things looked through the viewfinder. If you are going to
>>look through anything in addition to your own corneas, then that thing
>>should be as neutral as possible unless you want an altered visual
>>perception to control your picture taking.
>Many of us have the problem that we do not see things -- we see what ought
>to be there. In other words, we see not the outside worlds but our own
>preconceived visual notions. And that is not an exclusively photographic
>problem. When the impressionist painters began to paint shadows blue, there
>was a general outcry. It was 'unnatural'! Didn't everybody know that shadows
>are grey?
>>2. Polarizers used without restraint are not suitable for general landscape
>>photography. They may be alright for producing a picture when you are
>>trying to achieve an artistic, but thoroughly unnnatural effect.
>There are no 'natural' colours, perspective etc. Visual perception is not
>an automatic mirroring of the outside world. If we saw only what our eyes
>saw, we would see precious little. We have in the back of our heads an
>image processing system which Photoshop cannot even begin to touch.
>Our final perception of the outer world is not 'natural' in any other sense
>than that it has been produced by natural selection -- i.e. it has a proven
>survival value.
>In the 'thirties there was a great debate on which focal lengths gave a
>'natural' perspective (brought about by the introduction of 35 mm cameras
>-- read: Leicas -- with interchangeable lenses). Which focal length saw 'as
>the eye sees'? (Answer: none.) And from which distance should you view a
>print of this or that size in order to get a 'natural perspective'? You
>it: the self-appointed pundits declared that only the standard lens saw
>nature 'as the eye sees it'. Teles and wide angles -- especially 'super wide
>angles' such as the horrible 28 mm lenses -- were consigned to outer darkness.
>And then, with the introduction of colour film, the debate started again,
>now about 'natural colours'.
>It all boils down to this: We see with our brains. So it is quite simply a
>matter of taste. If you do not like the images you get with polarizers, that
>is, if you feel that they decrease your chances of survival and your Darwinian
>fitness, don't use them. But do not bandy about the word 'natural', please.
>Polarization is after all a natural phenomenon ...
>Vänliga hälsningar/Best regards
>Lars Bergquist
>Välkommen till/Welcome to ...
It is interesting to see what sets people off. It is especially interesting
here when my humble paragraphs were all about perception and invited
response. Regardless of orders given, I will probably continue to bandy
about any word I care to. :-) Thanks.


Winsor Crosby
Long Beach, California

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