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Negating reflections on glass

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by FMJunkie, May 30, 2014.

  1. FMJunkie

    FMJunkie Mu-43 Regular

    May 29, 2014
    Today I decided to pay for a yearly pass to go up to a viewing deck of one of the skyscrapers in my city.

    It has fantastic 360 degree view overlooking the city as it's by the tallest building around. Just one problem....

    The reflections from the internal lighting is ruining any chance of getting great shots. Not to mention every other nob flashing the window right when I am in the middle of a long exposure.

    Does anyone know how I can deal with reflections. Is there some sort of filter or film I could temporarily attach to the glass?

    I have tried to get the camera right up to the glass but this isn't easy given the window sill is small.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Mu-43 mobile app
  2. Timmy

    Timmy Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 3, 2013
    Wiltshire - UK
    You'll need something called a "polarizing filter" - by rotating it & altering the direction you point your camera you can cut out a lot the internal reflections.

    Good brands are B+W, Marumi & Hoya. Cheap filters can make your photos worse.
  3. barry13

    barry13 Mu-43.com Editor Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Putting the hood directly flat against the glass will have the greatest benefit; CPLs only help with reflections/light sources at certain angles.

    • Like Like x 1
  4. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I'd do some practice at home using your kitchen window or the like and try to emulate similar conditions to the tower, and see how camera angles, polarising filter, even a portable shroud would work to stop internal reflections.
  5. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 25, 2012

    try and block out as much of the ambient light as possible, in the end there's only so much you can do though...
  6. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Get as close to the glass as you can to minimize the reflections you're dealing with. Use a polarizer. Try to go when the nobs aren't there.

  7. jamesgehrt

    jamesgehrt Mu-43 Regular

    May 20, 2014
    Easthampton, Massachusetts
    James Gehrt
    Sounds difficult. A polarizer may not cut much. It only cuts out polarized light. The tungsten or fluorescent interior light may not be removed. I would try shooting at an angle to the window, either up or down or side to side. The glass will reflect the light that is falling at a specific angle. If you can get in a position so the lights so they are at a 45 degree angle to the window glass they should disappear. The only problem is, there will be many lights at many different angles. You could then try to clone out any light reflections.

    I would try to get some good shots as close to what you had in mind and then print a small portfolio or website. Then type up a proposal to the management and ask for permission to shoot for a half hour before or after hours. You can offer them usage of the images in return for the permission to shoot. Never hurts to try. I have had some luck with local museums that don't allow photography.

    Good luck.
  8. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    Rubber hoods are another option, as they can "seal" against the glass, cutting out any outside interference. Doesn't help as much for multi-pane glass, but still worth a try.
    • Like Like x 2
  9. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Also shoot at the widest aperture possible to ensure that any crud on the glass is out-of-focus in your image.
    • Like Like x 3
  10. Nam-in-Sonoma

    Nam-in-Sonoma Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 23, 2012
    Penngrove, CA
    Tape some black cloth to the window and on top-over of your camera which you put the closet to the window.
    • Like Like x 2
  11. FMJunkie

    FMJunkie Mu-43 Regular

    May 29, 2014
    Thanks for the tips, this has given me renewed motivation to try again.

    I have a cheap cpl filter that had some marginal success during the day, but as the sun retired for the day and the awful purple neon lights became apparent combined with the throngs of people with their iPhones , and tablets that were taking pictures with flash it was a nightmare.

    Thanks again guys. I will be sure to post any good shots I achieve :) 

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Mu-43 mobile app
  12. jonlong

    jonlong Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 25, 2013
    Avoiding crowds is a good start. Have a lens cloth with you to wipe the glass where you will shoot. Shoot as close to the glass and as perpendicular as you can to avoid distortion. Obviously don't use flash. Bring an extra layer (jacket or shirt or something, and use one hand to drape it over the front of the lens, blocking light from getting in and causing reflections. Polarizer might not be helpful if you do all this stuff.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    • Like Like x 1
  13. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    • Like Like x 2
  14. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Whenever I travel to such a venue I always schlepp along a swath of this fabric.
  15. FMJunkie

    FMJunkie Mu-43 Regular

    May 29, 2014
    Great video thanks :thumbup:
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