Reader Question: Filters for Ski Photography?

I had a great question come in over email a couple of days ago, and I realized that it’s one I’ve answered a few times in the past.  Clearly this is something that some of you have on your mind, so I thought I would share here for future reference.

The question came in from Oliver Harrison as follows:

Hi Dan!

Big fan here! Going on a ski trip soon with a 7D Mark II, just wondering if sticking with the usual UV filter is ok or if there’s another filter out there you would recommend to help with the snowy bright conditions! Thanks!

Here is my reply to Oliver:

Hey Oliver

I never use any filters for skiing. In fact, I don’t even use a UV filter. If it’s going to be sunny, make sure you have a very good UV filter if you are determined to use one. The biggest issue with UV filters is stray reflected light bouncing at the filter and then bouncing between the filter and the front element of the lens. This can really reduce contrast and also cause flaring. If the sun is out, be careful when getting the sun in your shot as this is the time you are most likely to see the negative effects of using a filter.

Actually “never” isn’t quite true… I have used a polarizer from time to time, but since you have to adjust the filter based on your angle to the sun, you have to have a static camera and that’s not how most people shoot skiing. It can also have a severely negative effect on the look of snow as well, so it’s a very special use case. Perhaps I use it 0.25% of the time.

Have a great trip. Let me know how you get on.

Do you have a question yourself?  Feel free to contact me using the contact button in the menu.

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Dan Carr

Founder of Shutter Muse, full time photographer and creative educator. Dan lives in the Canadian Yukon, but his wanderlust often sends him in search of images all around the world to meet the needs of clients and readers alike.

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