There is a LOT of manipulation which can be performed with software after an image has been taken: color correction, sharpening, contrast/brightness adjustments, the list is practically endless. However, getting rid of unwanted glare is not one of them. To do that properly, a polarizing filter must be used when taking the image.
Light bounces around in all directions. Under certain conditions, some of the rays can muddy up a photo. A polarizing filter can be helpful in those situations by blocking light rays not oriented in a certain way from reaching the sensor. The effect is a clearer and crisper image.
When we took our walk down at the Boston Public Garden the other day, we knew we wanted to get some of the Fall colors reflecting off the pond, so we brought along our set of Tiffen filters. The set had the three basic filters: the warming filter for better skin tone, the UV filter for reducing haze, the polarizing filter for getting rid of unwanted glare.
A polarizing filter is directional. Its orientation must be set for each shot. This is not as cumbersome as it sounds and it is very easy to do during use: look through the viewfinder, rotate the outer ring of the filter until the desired effect is obtained, and take the shot.
To maximize clarity, we used the polarizing filter to filter out some of the glare of the water. This resulted in clearer reflections on the water and better color contrast overall. There weren't any clouds in the sky, but had there been, they would have appeared puffier and more dramatic.
There are other situations where a polarizing filter can be of help, but we'll save those for another article. A filter is probably the simplest piece of optical equipment there is. Most have no moving parts, are relatively inexpensive compared to a quality lens, and are simple to use. They should also be in every photographer's bag of tricks. [Permalink] - Tiffen Filters
NOTE: The weatherman was wrong about the snow prediction for today! Get out there because it is going to be a gorgeous sunny day :-)