I was out last week photographing with a private client and we were stuck with a foggy, hazy, morning. Some photographers would just give up and head to breakfast, but I knew we could get something (maybe not perfect but still something) working in those conditions so we went to work.
I was working with a master falconer who enabled us to get close to the Eurasian Eagle Owl. That is half the battle. When it’s foggy or hazy try to get close. I used my Olympus OM-D E-M1 X camera with the M.Zuiko 40-150 f/2.8 Pro Lens. Having a fast lens helps too.
The next thing I did was meter manually. If you use any sort of auto mode (shutter priority, aperture priority, etc.) the meter will be fooled by the fog/haze. Manual metering gives you a chance to get the best exposure possible – which leads to the next step in the process.
Expose slightly to the right. If you underexpose a scene like this, you will be inundated with noise. As it is, even exposing to the right at ISO 640 with these conditions, I was left with a fairly noisy image, but that didn’t bother me because I knew I could use DeNoise AI to fix that. More on that below.
I want to preface what follows with this information. Everything I did to fix this image I did in less than three minutes.
Once I took the image from the camera to computer, I used Topaz Studio and the Dehaze filter, along with contrast adjustments and got the picture to the ADD CONTRAST stage. This looks a a bunch better with that simple correction. But there’s still some tidying up to do because of that noise.
Next I loaded the image into DeNoise AI and use the new Low light mode. Since there wasn’t much light (due to the fog and haze that morning) I knew the Low Light mode would come in handy and I was right.
You can see the improvement immediately.
Topaz DeNoise did a fantastic job of removing the noise (without quashing all the detail in the image.)
Because I knew this would be a teaching slide I brought it into Photoshop where I placed my watermark on it and exported as a JPG.
It won’t win any prizes mind you, but if you look at where I started, and where I ended up, I think you will agree that it is a major improvement.
The moral of the story is, don’t give up too quickly when conditions are less than optimal. You still can get useable images.
P.S. You can also do most of this in Photoshop (except the noise reduction) and I did just to compare. I think the image works best after being worked in Topaz.
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