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Blur from Haze and Refraction

Haze from moisture or dust obscures detail, and smog or smoke can turn a blue sky gray or brown. It is not so much blur as it is low contrast and color, but since it impairs distant detail, it must be considered a form of blurring.

Another type of blur which seems very surprising and strange if one has not previously observed it, is refractive blur — blur caused by varying air density e.g., “blobs of blur” almost like someone has finger-painted the image, smearing it.

Example — haze

Haze is a challenge with long telephoto lenses, even at relatively modest distances. Landscape photography with a long telephoto can be frustrating with even modest amounts of haze, even when the accommodating human eye perceives a relatively crisp scene. Blue light is especially troublesome, because many lens coatings and optics perform less well than with other colors of light.

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  • Depth of field and how to bypass depth of field limitations via focus stacking.
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  • Optical aberrations: what they are, what they look like, and what to do about them.
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Intrigued? See Focusing Zeiss DSLR Lenses For Peak Performance, PART ONE: The Challenges, or (one topic of many) field curvature.

Atmospheric haze
Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS

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