Long Lenses + Heat Haze
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dolina
Registered: Nov 05, 2008
Total Posts: 3702
Country: United States

Shooting with a long lens has its drawbacks and one that I often encounter is 'heat haze' caused by atmosphere in hot weather.

Now how do you guys deal with it if you cannot go closer to the subject?



AGeoJO
Registered: Jul 08, 2003
Total Posts: 12099
Country: United States

Now, that's a tough one. I am afraid the short answer to that is "nothing can be done about it", except for waiting until the temperature cools down if that's feasible.



GeneO
Registered: Jul 11, 2003
Total Posts: 9098
Country: United States

Another recent discussion on it in a thread here. Basically nothing you can do.

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1059700/0#10072875



stanj
Registered: Aug 05, 2003
Total Posts: 9758
Country: United States

Yeah, you're screwed. Figure out a way to get closer, or shoot when it's cooler. If neither is an option, think of how to turn it into an artistic feature



jay tieger
Registered: Oct 11, 2006
Total Posts: 1781
Country: United States

I'd try shooting from a higher angle...it might reduce the affect.



scottleslie
Registered: Oct 30, 2004
Total Posts: 286
Country: Canada

Even when it's a cold or cool day, but the ground is being warmed by the sun (especially dark patches of earth), you can get very unsharp photos.



dolina
Registered: Nov 05, 2008
Total Posts: 3702
Country: United States

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I am thankful that I do not need to use Photoshop trickery to solve this. This must not be very high up in photography problems



Gary Irwin
Registered: Jan 06, 2009
Total Posts: 543
Country: Canada

As has been said there's nothing you can do to reduce atmospheric effects at the time other that getting closer. For that reason it's best to shoot in early morning before the sun gets too strong, or in overcast conditions (even then the sun plays a role). Atmospheric effects have less to do with the temperature itself, rather its the temperature differential between the ground and the air you are shooting through...a high differential causes the air to "boil" and the resulting effects on the image cannot be corrected in PP. A lesser issue is wind, which can also create differences in air densities.

Regardless of the quality of equipment/skills, you're at the mercy of the weather conditions when shooting long. As an aside, I find a common misconception amongst inexperience shooters is they think long glass is intended to shoot long distance, whereas long glass is best used to magnify small objects. There's really no substitute for getting close if you want the highest quality image.



gdanmitchell
Registered: Jun 28, 2009
Total Posts: 9652
Country: United States

dolina wrote:
Shooting with a long lens has its drawbacks and one that I often encounter is 'heat haze' caused by atmosphere in hot weather.

Now how do you guys deal with it if you cannot go closer to the subject?


You'll get this effect in any weather - even cool weather if there are certain types of air turbulence.

There is really essentially nothing you can do about it once you are on the scene and shooting. The only things that comes to mind is that you can try to use the effect as part of your concept of shooting the scene, or that you can change your approach to the scene and shoot it with shorter lenses.

Do be aware of how much the effect will or will not affect the actual final photograph. It is often the case that such distortion that might be visible in a 100% magnification crop on the screen might not be a real problem at all in a final print.

Dan



scalesusa
Registered: Sep 02, 2008
Total Posts: 2455
Country: United States

Early morning shooting is the best solution, the lighting is often better, and no heat haze to spoil your long images.



h00ligan
Registered: Jan 03, 2010
Total Posts: 2158
Country: United States

We here in Arizona offer our deepest sympathies.



skibum5
Registered: Jan 21, 2005
Total Posts: 16774
Country: United States

scottleslie wrote:
Even when it's a cold or cool day, but the ground is being warmed by the sun (especially dark patches of earth), you can get very unsharp photos.


exactly, so don't think it will go away once it gets colder either


doooooooooooomed

maybe if you wake up at 6AM
but as I said, you are doooooomed


more seriously, when it is cold out, one thing to watch out for it opening window or door to house and taking a few snaps form inside, that often leads to thermal issues, gotta step outside and shut door or try to hold camera wayyy out the window, sometimes the same can go for shooting from within a car too



vachss
Registered: Oct 09, 2003
Total Posts: 1381
Country: United States

I've sometimes wondered, if you have a laser pointer with you, whether you could light up a part of your target and play "Guidestar" deconvolution games in post processing. Somebody who knows lots more adaptics optics than I would have to weigh in on the practicality of this though.



Psychic1
Registered: Jul 25, 2006
Total Posts: 4621
Country: United States

h00ligan wrote:
We here in Arizona offer our deepest sympathies.


Crisp and cold in NYC






h00ligan
Registered: Jan 03, 2010
Total Posts: 2158
Country: United States

Yah that helps me missing it, thanks! I never should have moved back! Nice shot.



gdanmitchell
Registered: Jun 28, 2009
Total Posts: 9652
Country: United States

scalesusa wrote:
Early morning shooting is the best solution, the lighting is often better, and no heat haze to spoil your long images.


Would that this were true, but it isn't. The condition occurs in cool as well as warm temperatures. One recent set of shots I did very early in the morning on a foggy day in San Francisco showed the effect on long distance shots of the Golden Gate Bridge. More recently I ran into it in a series of photographs made in very cool weather along the Big Sur coastline.

I'll agree with your fondness for morning light though.

Dan



dehowie
Registered: Oct 22, 2004
Total Posts: 1020
Country: Australia

To me it's generally caused by differential heating by he sun..
At low sun angles it clearly disappears and re appears as the sun angle increases.
The only way it goes is when you shoot after a rain shower which flattens the air for 20 minutes or so.
So or me shooting with the 800 is out during the day till late afternoon or early mornings or after brief showers..



rscheffler
Registered: Aug 23, 2005
Total Posts: 4981
Country: Canada

This is a big problem when photographing field sports on artificial turf fields on warm, sunny days. And is a situation where AF systems don't work well when trying to track action, compounding on the heat haze problem. The solution is a natural turf field. Unfortunately, those are becoming rarer and rarer. Having photographed many football games in such conditions, I rarely have focus issues at games played on natural turf. On artificial turf I have noticed that focus consistency improves considerably whenever clouds block the sun, or the sun is lower on the horizon. Noon/1pm games are frequently horrendous due to the compound effects of high-noon sun with harsh shadows (the solution is to shoot back-lit) and the intense heat haze from the sun baking the small black rubber pellets used as cushioning for the fake turf.

At some venues, photographers are required to kneel so as not to block the view of the paying spectators. This naturally worsens the heat haze issue. Standing reduces it somewhat, but of course not completely. One would think that a cold, crisp late fall or early winter football game would be ideal, and it generally is, with the exception of the propane heaters used to heat the players benches, and the waste hot air that wafts across center field. Depending on the wind direction, random image blurriness is frequently the result....

Back in 2007 Canada hosted the FIFA Under 20 World Cup. All of the matches were played on artificial turf. I clearly recall how after the first couple afternoon games the visiting European photographers were stumped about why all their across-the-field images were soft. They were used to matches played on natural turf and were unaware of the heat haze issues on fake turf...



skibum5
Registered: Jan 21, 2005
Total Posts: 16774
Country: United States

rscheffler wrote:
This is a big problem when photographing field sports on artificial turf fields on warm, sunny days. And is a situation where AF systems don't work well when trying to track action, compounding on the heat haze problem. The solution is a natural turf field. Unfortunately, those are becoming rarer and rarer. Having photographed many football games in such conditions, I rarely have focus issues at games played on natural turf. On artificial turf I have noticed that focus consistency improves considerably whenever clouds block the sun, or the sun is lower on the horizon. Noon/1pm games are frequently horrendous due to the compound effects of high-noon sun with harsh shadows (the solution is to shoot back-lit) and the intense heat haze from the sun baking the small black rubber pellets used as cushioning for the fake turf.

At some venues, photographers are required to kneel so as not to block the view of the paying spectators. This naturally worsens the heat haze issue. Standing reduces it somewhat, but of course not completely. One would think that a cold, crisp late fall or early winter football game would be ideal, and it generally is, with the exception of the propane heaters used to heat the players benches, and the waste hot air that wafts across center field. Depending on the wind direction, random image blurriness is frequently the result....

Back in 2007 Canada hosted the FIFA Under 20 World Cup. All of the matches were played on artificial turf. I clearly recall how after the first couple afternoon games the visiting European photographers were stumped about why all their across-the-field images were soft. They were used to matches played on natural turf and were unaware of the heat haze issues on fake turf...


it can wreak havoc even on natural turf fields too, believe me



Rusty1
Registered: Oct 05, 2004
Total Posts: 911
Country: United States

jay tieger wrote:
I'd try shooting from a higher angle...it might reduce the affect.


I recently was fortunate enough to shoot from a tower while friends shot from ground level. Made a great deal of difference on that hot afternoon. Too bad it's so seldom an option.



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