I went for a walk today up Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire, and it occurred to me how the problem of haze in long-distance telephoto shots can be effectively eliminated using a combination of the wider exposure latitude of modern digital sensors, and the tool available in post-processing software such as Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Here is a picture I took today, the sort where the view looks spectacular but the haze gets in the way:
A quick fix to the contrast and black levels improves the photo somewhat, but it affects the foreground more than the background, leaving the windmill still in a bit of haze:
However here is where Lightroom really came into its own. The new graduated filter tool, available from version 2, allowed me to add an effect that is more pronounced at the top than at the bottom, so I applied a contrast adjustment and added a hint of yellow to counteract the blue cast from the haze:
Finally I used the clarity tool to add a bit of extra punch:
Of course, wherever possible I try to get the shot right in camera, but in situations like this where that just isn’t possible, it’s good to know that you can capture enough colour depth to be able to recover what might have been a lost photograph.