Sunglasses for Your Camera

I’ve been recently playing around with using my sunglasses as a polarized filter for my point and shoot camera.

As cruisers, we are often in the position of having hiked up somewhere in order to look back down on the water. My eyes see this brilliant spectrum of blues, greens and yellows, the brown of reefs and I’m absolutely blown away. I snap a picture and it looks…different.

I am, of course, wearing polarized sunglasses and my point and shoot, waterproof camera isn’t.

Here are three shots of the pass to Rikitea Village, Mangareva Atoll, Gambier Islands taken on a gloriously sunny day with excellent visibility from the “Belvedere” hike. The first shot is the camera as normal. The second was taken through a pair of non polarized tinted sunglasses. The third through a pair of grey toned, polarized glasses.


And here is the anchorage at the village without polarized and through polarized glasses side-by-side:


Even though the sunlight and height of the mountain (hill) that we climbed make the reefs visible even without polarization, it is clear that the polarization makes the differences in color pop. However the grey tint of these particular glasses flattens some of the colors and ruins the blues which are my favorite part.

The very best views I have (with my eyes) are when wearing amber tinted polarized sunglasses. I often take them off and make Carol see the same scenery through my glasses. We jokingly call the much improved view “Livia’s World”. Next, I’ll try the same test with our camera with my amber polarized lenses.


  1. Seems to me the biggest difference is in the greenery and the clouds...

    s/v Eolian

  2. You can also rotate your polarized sunglasses to change the effect +/- polarization.

  3. Hey Bob - I agree. Without the sun it would have made a big difference in the reefs I think too but in these images the reefs are clear without the polarized.
    Rob - Thanks, I'll try that!

  4. This is probably one of the biggest reasons I end up hauling out the DSLR instead of telling myself I'll get away with using our underwater camera on shore trips: that polarizing filter! It makes such a difference on colors with clouds and water. That's a nice hack with the glasses. Mine are so trashed I'm not sure they'd work as well but, well, I'll try! (note to self- next underwater/rugged camera could maybe take a polarizing filter? hmmm)

  5. Sunglasses are the best, I am ready to it as a gift, especially when traveling oakley sunglasses cheap



Click on the dollar and buy Livia and Carol a cold frosty one:


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