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Heat Haze: Is It Possible To Remove It?  
User currently offlineteopilot From Italy, joined Jul 2010, 546 posts, RR: 1
Posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 9526 times:

hello everyone,

Yesterday, I Had a look at several photos of mine; these shots were taken about a Month ago ( Summer-time: here in Italy temperatures are quite high during this season).

well, I noticed that in some photos of taxiing airplanes there is some heat-haze that causes a sort of "distortion" on some elements...

now, I'm wondering if it is possible to reduce the heat-haze effect, with photoshop, for example...

thank you very much in advance

Matteo Stella

25 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineGPHOTO From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 829 posts, RR: 25
Reply 1, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 9522 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
DATABASE EDITOR

The simple answer is no, not really.

There is one thing you can try on the computer. If you resize the original photo down, the effect becomes less apparant as the image gets smaller. With a bit of luck it might be possible to minimise the visual impact below what can be detected with the human eye. The heat haze, in effect, disappears. It is still there of course, but below the limits of detection. For aircraft on the ground, this only really works with side on views of long aircraft (from about the size of a 777 upwards) and of course depends very much on the factors such as the level of heat haze available. As a result, this can usually only save a fraction of images affected. It can't be relied on and on a lot of days, at a lot of locations even this won't work. You need a fair bit of luck, but do try resizing a 'heat-hazed' image first before chucking it in the bin, you may find the odd one that can be salvaged.

The only real solution is to change your shooting positions or times. Early morning is usually a much better time to shoot, before the sun gets to work on heating up the ground. Getting closer to your subject can help too, but again, often not enough unless you have airside access or a spot where the taxiways are close to the fence. Shooting aircraft on final or after takeoff takes the aircraft out of the worst of the effect which is stronger the closer you get to the ground.

Best regards,

Jim



Erm, is this thing on?
User currently offlineiamlucky13 From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 242 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 9449 times:

A 25 pixel Gaussian blur should make the haze disappear.  

(along with all detail in the photo)

But seriously, heat haze is a real distortion of the image. Just like missed focus, it's an optical quality issue and there's limits to how much you can minimize it in a photo already taken.

In astronomy they get around it by using mirrors or lenses that change shape to correct it after measuring the distortion of a laser beam passing through the atmosphere, but that's a technology for $500 million observatories, not $2000 handheld lenses.

One other thing: heat haze is strongest close to the ground. That's why GPhoto suggested shots after liftoff on days when the haze is strong. Also, if you can elevate your position so most of the optical path is well above the ground, that's another way to reduce the effect before you take the picture.


User currently offlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 3, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 9428 times:

Some places are so bad for heat haze that taking shots of aircraft well above the ground doesn't do much to reduce it.

Karl


User currently offlinecpd From Australia, joined Jun 2008, 4879 posts, RR: 38
Reply 4, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 9376 times:

Minor heat-haze can be easily removed just by resizing the image down (if the original resolution is high enough).

I've also tried lower shutter speeds and panning the image - but this has very little benefit. I also agree with getting higher up to take your photos - that's a great way to lessen the effect of heat-haze. I used to do that quite a lot.

On those really hot days, I prefer to take photos later in the evening or early in the morning when the temperature is cooler and the light less harsh (colours are also nicer) - that's also the time when heat haze is less aggressive.


User currently offlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 5, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 9322 times:

Best way to avoid heat haze? Shoot in winter! Unfortunately some places on the planet retain year-round moderate temperatures.

I used to really look forward to the summer, however it brings with it harsh midday lighting (bright top fuselage, harsh contrast underneath) and heat haze - sometimes even early morning and evening. If I do shoot midday in summer I use spots where aircraft are at their highest, just to be sure.

Karl


User currently offlineviv From Ireland, joined May 2005, 3142 posts, RR: 29
Reply 6, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 9287 times:

Heat haze is a real nuisance.

As others have said, best to shoot when it is not present.

I agree with Karl - winter is better than summer (especially when there is snow on the ground! Gives wonderfully lit aircraft undersides - just include a note to the screeners or you may get a rejection for "over-exposed".



Nikon D700, Nikkor 80-400, Fuji X Pro 1, Fujinon 35 f/1.4, Fujinon 18 f/2
User currently offlinemoose135 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 2312 posts, RR: 10
Reply 7, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 9275 times:

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 5):
Best way to avoid heat haze? Shoot in winter!


Outside air temperature? +16F Results? Heat Haze...

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © John Musolino



You can get heat haze at any time of year, at any temperature. Heat haze occurs when there is a difference in temperature between the surface and the air above it. In my example above, while the air temperature was +16F, the river I was shooting across was +34F (or there about) resulting in heat haze.



KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
User currently offlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 8, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 9240 times:

Quoting moose135 (Reply 7):
You can get heat haze at any time of year, at any temperature. Heat haze occurs when there is a difference in temperature between the surface and the air above it. In my example above, while the air temperature was +16F, the river I was shooting across was +34F (or there about) resulting in heat haze

There's always one.....  

Most of us know why heat haze occurs and it is indeed possible anywhere at any time of year. Your image of course is one of those few excpetions to the rule - generally it's considered far less of a nuisance in winter.

I have had it at my local at temperatures well below freezing, although it is extremely rare.

My advice is still to shoot in winter, so long as you avoid 'heat haze hotspots'.

Karl


User currently offlineteopilot From Italy, joined Jul 2010, 546 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 9231 times:

Thank you very much to all of you!!!

Really appreciated all of your advices...

Now, here in Northern Italy From February to October-November, the temperatures are "quite high", the Heat haze is more annoying in summertime, while in other periods it is less than the latter.

In Winter, basing on my experience, I could say that this tricky element is almost off.
So, a good chance should be shooting in Colder times...

But I asked this question because I have some shots taken recently (the temperature is about 30°C, often with many humidity) that show this heat distortion problem on aircraft on ground...
anyway, for flying "birds" there's no problem, because I have only to choose the best angle to shoot...

but really an higher shooting position does the trick (even if the effect is not removed completely)?

well... I will try it, and also I'll edit my shots in order to see if I have been lucky or not in my battle against heat haze!  


User currently offlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 10, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 9214 times:

Another thing to bear in mind is that there (normally) must be something on the ground to generate heat haze, such as a runway, road or taxiway. Even the rooftops of houses can give off heat haze.

If you shoot aircraft in the air over open spaces (such as grassland) the effetcs are much more limited. Try therefore to avoid aircraft once they are above the runway. Just remember - surface temperature compared to the temperature of the air immediately above. Also remember that the colour black will absorb heat better than anything else, thus giving off more haze.

Karl


User currently offlineJid From Barbados, joined Dec 2004, 972 posts, RR: 31
Reply 11, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 9207 times:

Is it only me who has the Heat Haze removal Photoshop plug-in filter? Well worth the money I thought.


G7EPN is back after 15 years! Operating all Bands 80mtrs -> 70cms QRZ DX
User currently offlineteopilot From Italy, joined Jul 2010, 546 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 9197 times:

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 10):
Another thing to bear in mind is that there (normally) must be something on the ground to generate heat haze, such as a runway, road or taxiway. Even the rooftops of houses can give off heat haze.

If you shoot aircraft in the air over open spaces (such as grassland) the effetcs are much more limited. Try therefore to avoid aircraft once they are above the runway. Just remember - surface temperature compared to the temperature of the air immediately above. Also remember that the colour black will absorb heat better than anything else, thus giving off more haze.

Karl

Very interesting, Karl, thank you...

You have made me remember that we are talking about optics and light... these are definitely included in photography.

Well, I'm young and I haven't had learnt anything about light at school yet... My knowledge about this comes from Internet research, which I did when I first was caught by photography interest, so, forgive any mistake!

If I'm not mistaking, Black absorb heat and reflects the whole visible light spectrum; on the other hand we have the white, which is the opposite of black (also its way of "behaving")...

Now, I'll write down a deduction I have made on the basis written above: if a colour is darker, his heat absorption is proportional to its "darkness"; the opposite for brighter colours...
so, if I shoot a dark-livery plane on the runway, will I have less heat haze effects than shooting a white-livery airplane on the same runway?

Please, tell me if there is anything unclear...  


User currently offlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 13, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 9193 times:

That depends upon quite a few atmospheric conditions. Don't forget that engine/APU exhaust can create a similar effect to heat haze. Temperature and colour of the aircraft have little to do with the amount of haze - unless perhaps if the aircraft is jet-black.

Heat haze is so hard to predict and it doesn't always follow set rules.Forget about the tone of the runway and colour of the aircraft and concentrate more on time of day and height of the aircraft above ground.

Karl


User currently offlineteopilot From Italy, joined Jul 2010, 546 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 9174 times:

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 13):
That depends upon quite a few atmospheric conditions. Don't forget that engine/APU exhaust can create a similar effect to heat haze. Temperature and colour of the aircraft have little to do with the amount of haze - unless perhaps if the aircraft is jet-black.

Heat haze is so hard to predict and it doesn't always follow set rules.Forget about the tone of the runway and colour of the aircraft and concentrate more on time of day and height of the aircraft above ground.

Karl

Roger!  

Even if I like the effect created by apu and engines exaust!  


User currently offlinehotplane From UK - England, joined Jul 2006, 1038 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 9158 times:

Just don't go out on a hot day and you don't have to worry.


?
User currently offlinen314as From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 8974 times:

Heat haze can occur during hot and also windy days. Chances are that if you are experiencing this, you are shooting from too far away using long telephoto. Find a location that is closer to where you are. This should eliminate most of it. Anyways, heathaze should be prevented overall - it is bad photography in aviation. Move closer.

User currently offlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 17, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 8971 times:

Having just returned from a couple of days photographing in Antalya, Turkey, I can assure everyone that getting close sometimes doesn't eliminate the problem.

I was shooting aircraft on finals, where they were about 200-300ft high, using about 70mm for an A330 and I was still getting heat haze until about 16:00, when it seemed to suddenly disappear.

Then again, the temperature was nearing 40 degrees Celcius!

Karl


User currently offlineEpten From Macedonia, joined Sep 2007, 184 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 8833 times:

When there's wind, there's less (or none at all) heat haze. Windy conditions are great for shooting aircraft.

No, you can't remove heat haze from photos.

[Edited 2010-09-13 03:41:04]

User currently offlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 19, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 8829 times:

Quoting Epten (Reply 18):
When there's wind, there's less (or none at all) heat haze. Windy conditions are great for shooting aircraft

Not less - it's just despersed more by the moving air. As has been said, meteorological conditions are pretty irrelevant. You can still encounter heat haze on a windy day.

Karl


User currently offlinesamuel32 From Switzerland, joined Jun 2005, 141 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 8814 times:

Reduce the amount of air you are shooting through: In other words get closer to your subject.

Sam,


User currently offlinehotplane From UK - England, joined Jul 2006, 1038 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 8780 times:

Don't take photos on boiling hot days. The light is crap anyway.


?
User currently offlineFlyingfox27 From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2007, 424 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 8756 times:

I think from September to March (Northern hemisphere) is the best time, the Summer evenings were lovely to take photos aswell as very early in the mornings.

User currently offlinecpd From Australia, joined Jun 2008, 4879 posts, RR: 38
Reply 23, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 8736 times:

Quoting samuel32 (Reply 20):
Reduce the amount of air you are shooting through: In other words get closer to your subject.

This isn't particularly effective unless you are just about close enough to get swept up into the engines themselves. Well, that's a bit of embellishment - but you get the idea.

I find the better thing to do is wait until the temperatures cool off (very late in afternoon/evening or early morning). Windy days can be good for reducing the appearance of the effect.

I usually have to work around this problem in Sydney as there are very few places you can really get close to planes. Pretty much always we are working with 200mm through to 600mm focal lengths (with the exception of a few places).


User currently offlineuser47 From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 47 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 8721 times:

I find it incredibly entertaining that so many non-american posters simply say "get closer"...

1. If any planespotter could, wouldn't they by default?
2. Don't forget our security folks are incredibly overzealous at most major airports.

I tend to be pro-american wherever I can be but I'm beginning to think I'll need to take my hobby abroad in order to get decent shots without being labeled a terrorist. See "I'm a photographer, not a terrorist" for more on that...  



Have I mentioned I love planes? :-)
User currently offlineteopilot From Italy, joined Jul 2010, 546 posts, RR: 1
Reply 25, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 8539 times:

Quoting user47 (Reply 24):
I find it incredibly entertaining that so many non-american posters simply say "get closer"...

1. If any planespotter could, wouldn't they by default?
2. Don't forget our security folks are incredibly overzealous at most major airports.

I tend to be pro-american wherever I can be but I'm beginning to think I'll need to take my hobby abroad in order to get decent shots without being labeled a terrorist. See "I'm a photographer, not a terrorist" for more on that...  

Really things are that bad for American spotters!?!

I thought it was the contrary... If I'm not mistaking, the use of a radio scanner is allowed (for exeample, here in Italy it is forbidden): I used to think photography is the same as scanners... but seems that my thinkings were wrong, isn't it?


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