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Help with Landscape picture taking?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by C130RN, Jun 23, 2012.

  1. C130RN

    C130RN New to Mu-43

    Jun 23, 2012
    North Carolina
    Hello and thanks for checking this post out.
    I was at the beach and took my brand new epl3 with us.

    I was pleased with most all of the pictures. The main question I have is how to eliminate the haze on the top of the trees when shooting at sunrise or sunset.

    I am hoping that this might be a setting I have overlooked or something I need to do in the future. I am a novice to the photography world and tried different settings to include sunset and landscape modes.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Here is a sample of what I am speaking of.


    Attached Files:

  2. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    Are you using a lens hood?
  3. oldsweng

    oldsweng Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 21, 2011
    Which camera are you using?
  4. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Is that the sun in the upper right corner?
  5. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    Doesn't look normal. You could try doing a Reset (full) of camera settings to see if the issue goes away.
  6. zammer

    zammer Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 9, 2012
    Smudge on the lens?
  7. acercanto

    acercanto Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 15, 2011
    SW VA, USA
    Without knowing the details, I would say a combination of fog (out of your control), UV (UV filter will cut through that), direct sunlight (a lens hood could help, or sometimes just your hand, carefully out of frame) would cut down on the effect you're getting.

    Hope that helps,
  8. Repp

    Repp Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 27, 2011
    Seoul, South Korea
    Out of curiosity, would a polarizer make the colors in the sky richer and help cut the haze? I remember reading somewhere that the newer ones also acted like a UV filter...
  9. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    It looks to me like the sun is in the right upper corner, or just out of the frame in that area. I think the sky is blown out and it's possible that it's a bit of lens flare that's degrading the top of the trees. If so, a lens hood would help, as would taking the photo from a different angle, i.e. a position further around to the right, so that the sun is moved further to the side rather than towards the front.

    I suspect there may also be a little bit of overexposure involved. I don't know what metering mode was used, or what parts of the scene were metered, but overall I think a little less exposure probably would have helped with everything.

    A polarizer may or may not darken the sky that much. It's hard to say whether there's cloud cover there and it's an overcast day but I suspect there was some cloud. In that case there wouldn't be too much sky to darken though a polariser would certainly add some saturation to the green of the foliage. While that would be nice, it would also probably remove the reflections on the water and that would be a pity in my view. I'd opt for keeping the reflections and not using a polarizer.

    I'd work to reduce what looks like flare, and use a bit less exposure to saturate the greens a bit more as well as deepening the tones in the water.

    I imported the posted jpeg into Aperture. The top right corner is a severely blown highlight area and the shot was overexposed with the histogram shifted to the right. I reduced the exposure by 1 stop which moved the histogram to the left and eliminated the blown highlight indication though, of course, with a jpeg there was no data that could be recovered. The left side of the histogram was still some distance from the left of the graph so I raised the black point to pull the darker tones further to the left, and I added some Vibrancy to boost the unsaturated tones. The result is below. The sky definitely looks like it was cloudy to me.

    The result is better but the effect of the overexposure is still visible in the top of the picture. The foliage and river tones below the overexposed area look better but getting the exposure right in camera would lift things a lot more. What I did wasn't brilliant processing but I think it does confirm my assessment and recommendations would be a step in the right direction.

    Attached Files:

  10. C130RN

    C130RN New to Mu-43

    Jun 23, 2012
    North Carolina
    Thanks for all of the help and suggestions. I do think the sun was in the right side of the frame. I also noticed this in the sunset. I will also check out the lens and try a lens hood. I did purchase a UV filter that was installed during shooting. I am certainly impressed about the great response and help for my first post! I will try some of the tips tonight.

  11. C130RN

    C130RN New to Mu-43

    Jun 23, 2012
    North Carolina
    epl3- The camera I was using.
  12. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    In this situation the UV filter is probably hurting more than helping. It will probably flare more than the lens.

    I agree with the other posters, the main issues are flare and overexposure. If it's worth the extra effort you might consider multiple exposures and HDR processing.

  13. zpierce

    zpierce Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Sep 26, 2010
    Minneapolis, MN
    That is one of the hardest shots you can take with a camera, shooting into the sun (even if it's off at an angle. Try shooting your landscapes with the sun at your back, night and day difference :)  Next time you see that in a shot, turn 90-180 degrees and shoot another shot in that direction and see the difference. The problem here is that the range of brightness is way too much for your camera's sensor. The bright parts go all white because they are out of range. If you crank the exposure compensation down, you could make the sky look more normal, but then the trees would be VERY dark. In cases like this where you want to get the particular landscape, the best thing you can do is come back at the part of the day when the light is more favorable. Evening or morning, whenever the sun is at your back and lighting the scene for you. The gadgets mentioned may help a bit, but nothing will come close to the shot you could get at the right time of day.

    One other gadget I use sometimes for landscapes that can help (although I suspect this is still way too into the sun) is a graduated neutral density filter. They are shaded on one half so you can lower the brightness on the sky a bit. That can get you some nicer blue skies and even out the exposure so your land isn't too dark. But they can't compensate for having the full power of the sun in or near the frame.
  14. zpierce

    zpierce Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Sep 26, 2010
    Minneapolis, MN
    A polarizer helps cut down indirect light and makes colors like the sky richer, but only if the sky is not overexposed in the first place. Once overexposed, there is no data there, no color captured, just white.

    UV filters don't do anything particularly useful on digital cameras other than protect the front lens element. Digital cameras aren't susceptible to UV induced haze like film cameras are, a UV filter won't help this scene other than to potentially make it worse. On the negative side, adding a UV filter to a lens and pointing it at a strong light source risks more internal reflections of that light that show up on your photo.
  15. Tincam

    Tincam Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 25, 2012
    This is lens flare. It's showing up because direct sunlight is hitting the lens, or very nearly so. Next time, watch for the effect in your viewfinder and adjust your composition until it's gone. Backlit landscapes can be some of the best. No reason to avoid them if you know how to control flare
  16. shizlefonizle

    shizlefonizle Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 21, 2012
    taking a look at the histogram will help too
  17. strang

    strang Mu-43 Veteran

    May 7, 2012
    Use a polarizer. That would automatically under expose your shot and you can line it up with the direction of the sun to cut through the haze too. If done right your water will also look great.

    Shooting into the sun sucks. This is the best a polarized filter can do you for you: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dzhao/5530875831/in/photostream. I didn't shoot this on a MFT but the concept is the same.

    I think the OM-D has a fairly good curve control. I've been waiting for a sunny day here to try it out.

    PS: I just bought a thin Tiffen polarizer for C$20 on eBay shipped. Figured later I would have the Olympus 9-18mm and it shares the filter size as the 12-50mm that I already have.
  18. C130RN

    C130RN New to Mu-43

    Jun 23, 2012
    North Carolina
    Thanks again for all of the tips. I did see results in trying different ways of taking the pictures. Again, I am impressed with the help. Thanks
  19. 250swb

    250swb Mu-43 Regular

    You could try a UV filter to cut through the atmospheric haze, but doing some very simple post processing would solve the problem more effectively. Buy yourself Photoshop Elements or Lightroom.

  20. SkiHound

    SkiHound Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 28, 2012
    Wasn't there and I'm certainly not an expert, but there are times when the light is just to strong and harsh for landscapes. And when the sun is strong you often get a lot of atmospheric haze. Cameras don't see like human eyes and they don't have nearly as much dynamic range. The sun looks pretty bright in that photo. I try to wait till the sun actually goes down or goes behind some clouds. A UV or polarizer and lens hood might help. And we've seen that things can be improved with PP. But there's reason landscape photographers do most of their work either very early in the morning or right around sunset.
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