For some of my class lectures, I wanted to improve on the images that I’ve been using to illustrate the different uses for optical polarization in the world. One very simple application is to use a linear polarizer to remove reflection glare, from a water surface or from a pane of glass. For a smooth material surface in air, the Brewster angle of incidence (53° for water, 56° for normal glass) is where all of the p-polarized light will enter the material, so that reflected light will be 100% s-polarized. Therefore, if we use a linear polarizer, rotated so that it only passes p-polarization, we can cancel the reflection glare.

Below is a set of image pairs showing the same scene with and without a polarizer in place to reduce reflection glare — off of windows or a water surface. After the images I also have a couple of videos showing a scene while I manually rotate a polarizer in front of the camera. This allows us to see, in live mode, the effect of the reflection glare removal.

Without polarizer
With polarizer
Without polarizer
With polarizer

Without polarizer
With polarizer
Without polarizer
With polarizer
Viewing the reflection from a fish pond through a rotating linear polarizer.
Viewing the reflection from a fish pond through a rotating linear polarizer. At the beginning and end of the video, you can see a crayfish hiding in the center of the image.
Viewing the reflections from building windows through a rotating linear polarizer.

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