April is for Tulips

Last week Tanner and I found a beautiful day to visit the annual Tulip Festival in southern Portland.

This was also my first attempt at using my new polarizing filter for my camera, and it was something of a learning experience. I wanted it for darkening the blue in the sky and for bringing out stronger colors in the flowers, and it did this... but it also gave everything a very "yellow" cast. I accidentally left my white balance on "auto" instead of putting it to daylight, and I think my camera was trying to over-compensate for the polarizer's effect.

When I opened the files in my computer, it was strange to see the pretty colors of the tulips, green grass and blue sky turn into sickly shades of yellow and brown. I had to do some color correcting to bring back the blue hues, but even then, there's something a little "off" about my photos.

Here's an example: everything looks deep and colorful in this photo (the polarizer gave everything a crazy amount of saturation!), but the weird white balance gives everything an almost ominous look, as if a storm is brewing.

At any rate, I learned my lesson, and hopefully the next sunny day will bring out some more experimentation! One nice bonus about bringing the polarizer was that I got some good shots of Mt Hood, which otherwise would have been a washed-out white mountain on an overly bright washed out sky. The polarizer perfectly distinguished between white mountain and blue sky.

Anyone have any polarizer tips to share?

(P.S.- check out my photos from last year's Tulip Festival to see more flower beautifulness!)