Polarizing filter in snow?


Jul 5, 2014
Sorry if this is a dumb photo noob question. I dropped my clear filter that protects my lens on the trail last week and picked up a new one today. I also picked up a polarizing filter which I didn't have before. I'll be out hiking in the snow this weekend and it is supposed to be sunny. Do you guys recommend the polarizing filter when shooting in the snow? If so is it just under certain conditions (sunny, shooting into the sun, etc?). I'd rather not bring both and switch back and forth since it'll be in the single digits. Do you guys have a recommendation between the clear or polarized?


Chuck the Mauler

Formally known as "kcwins"
Aug 20, 2014
You do not want to shoot in the snow without a polarizing filter. There are many benefits using it while it's snow and sunny. A polarizing filter will continuously vary the amount of light that passes through it. It can darken a blue sky and make white clouds appear whiter, reduce glare on snow and ice. It will really help with shadows and shadowing.
When photographing in the snow, especially when it's sunny you need to be careful not to overexpose the highlights in a scene or the brightest part of a subject. Pay attention to White Balance setting. Sometime things get a bit blue. Check your camera’s histogram and make sure you don’t have a spike on the right, which indicates a highlight washout. The polarizer is most effective when the sun is on your left or right rather than in front or behind you. Keep your batteries warm and have a blast.


Jul 5, 2014
Thanks @kcwins. That's really helpful. I did some internet searching last night and from what I can make of it, it's not a bad idea to leave it on except when trying to get water reflections, colors in sunsets/sunrises, and when shooting in the dark. I'm sure that's a gross oversimplification but I'm just trying to learn the broad basics right now.


Oct 1, 2014
Anytime your shooting in snow or by water, use a polarizer.. Kcwins nailed it.

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