The cream of my latest adventures!

Cross Polarising Photo Experiment


Today I’ve achieved psychedelic colours through cross polarisation in my cross polarising photo experiment. It’s really simple to do and doesn’t require expensive gear. All I used was:

  1. Canon EOS 400D D-SLR Camera (any camera can be used)
  2. The standard 18-55 kit lens that came with the camera (the only lens that fitted my polarizing filter
  3. Hoya Polarizing circular filter (can also use a normal polarising plastic or your polarised glasses)
  4. LCD monitor
  5. Some see-through tupperware and straws (you can use almost anything made of plastic)

Here are the results:

Photo of Cross Polarised Straws

The beautiful red colour in this abstract photo comes from full polarisation through a set of tied together straws, using an LCD monitor with a red background as a background. The photo has not had any post processing. 55mm, Aperture: F5.6, Shutter: 1s, ISO: 100

Cross Polarisation of Straws

Another shot of cross polarized straws with a wide aperture. You can see the straws' bends are in focus. The photo has not had any post processing. 55mm, Aperture: F5.6, Shutter: 1.6s, ISO: 100

Cross Polarised Photo of Tupperware Lid

This colourful abstract is actually a tupperware lid setup between the lens and a white background on the LCD monitor. The lines in the bottom left are actual scratches, as this lid has been used many a time! 55mm, Aperture: F5.6, Shutter: 1/6s, ISO: 100

You can find more great shots by going to my smugmug. They’ll work very well as desktop backgrounds!

Cross Polarising Tupperware Lid 2 Cross Polarising Photo of Straws

If you’re interested in how these photos were taken, see the shots below which explain how it’s done:

Polarisation Filter on LCD Monitor

1. Get a polarisation filter or plastic and fix it to your camera lens. When you use the polarising filter against a polarising light source (In this instance an LCD monitor), you get cross polarisation and the filter can actually block out the light from the LCD monitor.

Cross Polarising Photo Experiment Setup

2. Setup your camera on a tripod and direct it toward the monitor, using a white background. Setup a plastic object (in this case a tupperware lid) in between the camera and the LCD monitor and you've got your experiment all setup! Now twist your polarising filter to get different effects as seen in the photos above and on my Smugmug.

Cross polarising Photo Experiment setup with red background

3. Now you're setup, start experimenting with different objects and different colour backgrounds! This is the setup for my straw shots, where I used Scotch tape to attach the straws together.

You don’t need super gear to carry out this experiment, so nothing should stop you from running to the shop to get some polarising plastic and try this yourself! Please let me know if you’re carrying out the same experiment so I and other readers can see your creative routes.

One response

  1. Thank for nice article. 🙂

    September 14, 2010 at 3:51 pm

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