Controlling Haze & Fog

As a landscape photographer you can mostly control the places you photograph, the time of day, and season, but that’s about it. You can’t control weather, air pollution, and many other factors. Haze in the air, causing atmospheric distortion, is a common problem and a tough one. Particulate in the air, whether from smoke, pollen, pollution or water vapor, creates haze. The amount of haze increases the farther away the subject is and can create layers of haze. There are a few tools to help reduce haze when you’re shooting, like UV/Haze filters and Polarizers. Often times they only provide a little help. With software, you can increase the contrast to help cut through the haze but it can negatively impact the darker tones if you’re not careful. A few software providers have developed special controls for reducing haze.

With ON1 Photo RAW, we are developing a dedicated control with new algorithms to help photographers control haze and fog. You will be able to reduce haze and also reduce or enhance fog for a dreamier look. As we work on this algorithm and compare it to other methods and talk to photographers we have come to a quandary.

When used conservatively these methods can be subtle and helpful. However, when used at high settings they create over saturated colors in areas that had little color to start.  This overly strong look is reminiscent of an over-processed HDR look (popular a few years ago). This look can make some photographers cringe while others approve of it. Back to the quandary, we are trying to determine how strong to allow this control to be and if we should increase the saturation like other products, or take a more conservative approach that affects color less. I would love to hear your thoughts on this and your experience when reducing haze. Just add a comment below and this will be a great way to communicate what you want.

I’ve also prepared a few samples below and am very interested in getting your feedback. Each set contains the original photo and several options to compare. Please pick your favorite for each set.

– Dan

Create your own user feedback survey

9 comments on “Controlling Haze & Fog”

  1. On September 4, 2016 at 4:05 am Neil Steinmetz wrote:

    Whatever your default choice for the saturation effect of the dehaze slider, this should just be a starting point. Wouldn’t it be straightforward to add a sub slider to adjust the behavior of the Dehaze algorithm, similar to adjusting radius in a sharpening algorithm? Just choose some reasonable intermediate default, then let each user fine-tune it.

  2. On September 4, 2016 at 8:32 am Wayne Tester wrote:

    I like what you are doing here, and want something to be able to suggest emotional feelings subtly and enhance that feeling cautiously. I want to be able to change haze gradually, maybe by a slider, so when it feels right to me, that is where I will leave it.
    I am looking forward to using PhotoRaw.
    Wayne

  3. On September 7, 2016 at 7:51 pm Colin Boyland wrote:

    Having Dehaze as a brush (not sure if that’s what you’re planning here) is the best option, as it’s available in Lightroom CC now. That way, the user can brush the effect in where they want and not the whole image.

  4. On September 12, 2016 at 7:47 pm Lisa Tamres wrote:

    Would we be able to selectively mask it? That and varying the opacity of the effect would help manage the intensity and location of the effect.

  5. On September 12, 2016 at 8:19 pm Richmond J Dougall wrote:

    The dehaze presets in OnOne 10 Effects is a wonderful tool but I find it difficult to tone down – to be more subtle. Of course, in PhotoShop, I have the option of changing opacity and reducing the effect. But I like to be able to work on “subtle” while I am working on “effect.”

  6. On September 13, 2016 at 1:05 am John Chapman wrote:

    Because we all have very personal visions on how to finish our photos we need flexibility. Having on1 providing a moderate baseline is important then we should be able to use other tools/sliders to get haze to fit our vision.

  7. On September 13, 2016 at 8:16 am Bob Fine wrote:

    If a “strong” effect would NOT allow users to fine-tune and minimize the effect, then I would opt for a more conservative approach. However, it would be nice to have the stronger effect available for experimentation.

  8. On September 13, 2016 at 10:21 am namberak . wrote:

    I would say, I’d rather be able to over-dehaze than not have enough. Two years ago I was in the Azores for just one day and it was incredibly foggy and overcast most the day and the only way to save any of my shots was to “go crazy” with the dehaze slider in LR. This created a lot of noise in the sky that I was able to smooth out the mess I’d created by stacking a blur layer and painting it into the sky, but without the heavy duty dehaze, I’d have had nothing.

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