Beginner’s photography books almost always recommend polarizer filters for shooting outdoors …but is that the case when shooting action sports?
Polarizer’s are definitely a good thing to have, but we wouldn’t say it’s a must for most action sports. It will give you nice dark skies and enhance the contrast a little bit but it all comes at a cost. It is going to cost you between 1.5 to 2 stops of light to have that polarizer on. That means that all the money you spent to get the f/2.8 version of a lens so you can achieve a higher shutter speed in poor lighting conditions will now have the light performance of an f/5.6 lens.
But hey, if it’s a nice bright day and you are shooting at the beach or on some nice snowy terrain….put it on! Keep in mind that at high altitude the sky already looks darker and if you turn your polarizer until the sky is the darkest possible, you will have too dark of a sky rendering the image too surreal. It’s best to find the darkest spot and back it off a bit.
(Image showing overuse of polarizer)
Polarizers are great products but they do slow down your shutter and will require an increased flash power. Keep this in mind and use only when necessary. You can always darken the sky a bit in post production if you must!