Lee Universal Hood
A valid question indeed, and while it might look like an old view camera at the end of my lens it’s actually very simple! It’s a combined lens hood and filter holder from Lee.
It’s called the universal hood and as you might have guessed it acts as both a lens hood and filter holder, it can take up to two filters.
For you that isn’t familiar with a square filter system like Lee, it’s a system that uses filter holders (that in turn mounts on adapter rings that are attached to your lenses) that hold square sized filters instead of round threaded filters that you screw onto your lens.
So instead of buying round filters in different sizes, you buy adapter rings in different sizes (which is cheaper) and then you only need to buy one filter and it can be attached to all your lenses. Comparing HQ brand name filters it will probably be cheaper to buy one square filter compared to a bunch of screw on filters.
As you might have seen the Lee universal hood is on my lens most of the time, I pretty much use for all my food and product work.
I use the “medium wide” (standard) version as my intended use is not for landscape photography or with UW lenses. (widest lens i use it on is 24mm)
Why use a polarizer ?
Well the short answer for me is control.
The polarizer gives me control of the amount of reflection/glare, which is crucial to product photography, but also for my style of food photography. (as I shoot a lot with hard backlighting)
Of course, there are other given scenarios where controlling reflections/glare is useful, like landscape photography.
Below you can see a simple studio shot with the polarizer mounted and then turned 90 degrees.
Lee polarizer mounted and rotated 90°
Hope this answered some of your questions!
If you want to read more about polarizers you can find some good information here.
Here are links to the stuff i got in my kit.