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Faded Landscapes

Discussion in 'Landscapes, Architecture, and Cityscapes' started by adr3naline, Aug 29, 2008.

  1. I couldn't find anything while searching, and I'm probably using different terminology than when someone already asked this question.

    My landscape shots are turning out really faded... I thought maybe it was pollution, but then I went up into the mountains, and it was the same thing. How did Ansel Adams get his so clear and crisp? Mine aren't blurry, they're just dull and faded.

    I'm using a D80 with a 70-300 lens with a standard uv filter. How could I improve these shots?
  2. the_traveler


    Mar 22, 2007
    en route
    post one.
  3. JusPlainCrayzee

    JusPlainCrayzee Administrator Administrator

    Did you check your saturation level in the 'Optimize Image' screen (I think it's in the Shooting Menu)? If not, change the level to More Vivid - it might help.

    Here's a link from Ken Rockwell's online user guide - it gives the quick and dirty on how to change your image modes.


    Also (speaking of dirty), and I'm not trying to be funny, but is your lens clean?
  4. MrDalgof


    Apr 6, 2006
    Colorado, USA
    Try increasing contrast in post processing. It helps for me in some cases like you describe.
  5. Okay, I was having a hard time uploading my photo for some reason. Anyway, here's a picture I took last weekend. Granted, this was fairly far away, but it seemed much more clear in real life. This is zoomed at 300mm, at ISO 200. It's just the distance shots that turn out like this.

  6. Lar


    Jun 12, 2005
    Washington State
    hey Mike!

    I added a little contast, it seemed to help a little.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  7. the_traveler


    Mar 22, 2007
    en route
    My guess is that there are several factors to this.

    There is some haze, you can see it in the difference between the near and far hills. This may cause diffraction; I would always use a polarizing filter to cut this.

    This shot is not critically sharp. You are shooting at an effective focal length of about 450 mm at 1/200 and there is probably motion unsharpness. Most landscape photographers use very substantial tripods and weighting to steady their shots.

    Shot at f11 which may not be the sharpest f stop on your lens.
  8. Mike, there are several issues at play regarding your concern.

    1) Haze is FAR worse now than in Ansel Adams's day. When I was in California for the first time 27 years ago, I spoke with a truck driver who explained that 20 years earlier you could look from one side of the San Fernando valley to the other side and see the mountains. His point 27 years ago was that the haze simply prevented that from happening. The haze is even worse today.

    2) There are UV/Haze filters that help minimize the haze. Applying Local Contrast Enhancement, which is a form of USM that ironically doesn't really sharpen, also helps a lot.

    3) The last factor has to do with all sorts of post-processing issues including the color space you are using, your control of contrast, and lots of other issues including exposure.

    As my wife and I were walking through a national park today, we noticed that there was virtually no haze during this time of year that we would normally experience lots of haze. Haze is haze, and can't be eliminated, only miminized.

    Lastly, post an examplary picture as one person already suggested so we understand your frame of reference.
  9. i did some levels work on it
    and some sharpening and cropping
    getting rid of that non-descript and distracting sky
    and came up with this:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  10. a little more color-corrected:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  11. PDuany


    Aug 10, 2005
    I may be off base in this but I believe another factor may be heat. my Understanding is that with telephoto lenses it is easy to pick off the heat "shimmer" (not sure if that is the right term for it) of the earth radiating heat back into the atmosphere. This is the mirage effect you see in movies as the hero walks in over the horizon through the sand.
  12. Thanks everyone. I'm going to play with my camera settings for the next time I'm shooting a distant landscape... I'd love to be able to keep some amazing mountainscapes. (That balloon shot wasn't one I wanted to keep, I just had it as an example to chat about).
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