Yesterday afternoon, I realized that there were some nice clouds in the sky, and it might be a good day to run up to Sedona. I checked the Sedona webcam, and sure enough, nice clouds. Being noon, I needed to get a move on. So I quickly gathered up my gear and thought, “I should clean my polarizing filter, I’ll probably use it a lot today.” So I got out the lens fluid and a microfiber cloth and went to town.
Sedona was awesome. The weather was perfect for shooting and I filled my compact flash cards with 6GB worth of HDR panoramas. I only got in a few hours of shooting, but I found some new locations, and got what I thought would be great stuff. I used the polarizer pretty much all day to darken the spots where the blue sky was peeking through the clouds.
As the more astute of you might have already guessed, I learned a valuable lesson yesterday. That lesson is: When you clean your filters, make sure they are really clean. While cleaning the filter I created smudges that I couldn’t see on the filter itself, or through the lens, but are very apparent in the photos I took. The smudges ruined most of the day’s photos.
The smudges are largely not visible on low resolution versions of the Panos, so I’m posting them here for you to play with, and so you can feel my pain about not being able to print them larger. These are all really rough stitches, and you may see some ghosting or other artifacts, but you get the idea.
I am teh stupid and it hurts me deep inside.
I’ll venture back to these spots on the next cloudy day with a clean polarizer.