Rainbows And Polarizers

Time for some long-procrastinated camera geeking.

So it was a hot drive down to Ampang, when I tried to capture the light distortion from the sizzling heat by putting a polarizer filter in front of my camera.

And whoa, what did I see? Rainbows!

Turns out that sunlight, which then reflects off coated surfaces on a car’s glass, is polarized…

…and when it comes through the polarizer filter, some wavelengths are cut off, causing the rainbow effect. However, it varies between car; a Perodua Rusa’s rainbow patterns are like grilles. This was shot from smashpOp‘s Proton Gen.2; you can see the coating’s effect on the sky, but it is most obvious against other cars.

What if you don’t have a coated window? What if you’re not shooting from inside a vehicle? Simple. Cut a piece of plastic from a plastic microwaveable box and tuck it in front of the polarizer filter.

And so, you can still shoot rainbows!

You may think that thick plastic may lower image quality, but it does fine, adding a soft diffuse effect to this picture (no color or levels adjustments made, to show the effect.)

Same goes for this dreamy evening.

An even more interesting idea would be to use a polarizer to shoot real rainbows; the effect of the rainbow might be maximized, or striped, depending on the angle. I can’t wait to find out.

3 thoughts on “Rainbows And Polarizers

  1. budokid Post author

    u can try the KLCC park sprinklers in the morning. the sprinklers are lined up so its quite a long rainbow


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