Heat.

Joined
Aug 25, 2009
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Missouri
I'm interested in capturing heat, and the mirror effect, for some of my long automotive shots. Here's a picture taken by a friend of mine, Graham Ritter, to which I have explicit permission to use...

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...to illustrate exactly what I'm looking for...

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This was taken on a Canon 40D (crop sensor) @ 400mm ƒ5.6.

To say it angers me that my 200 ƒ2 cannot produce this look is the understatement of the year, but apparently it's a phenomenon of long focal lengths. If anyone knows why, I'd love to hear about it.

I also would like to know what bearing sensor size has on this. Meaning, can I get this look with less FL (300mm) becase I'm on FF, or will I need more FL (500mm)? I can use my old D80 if I need to.

What about a big TC instead of purchasing a lens just for this?

A few bits of important information...

- I will never use the lens or TC for anything else, only long shots like this.
- Will always be tripod mounted.
- If it must be a lens, manual focus is fine, I won't be in a hurry.

What is the least expensive way for me to achieve this look?

Any information will be greatly appreciated.
 
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Joined
Dec 8, 2010
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29
Location
US
just some thoughts:

-you need hot pavement and a relatively cold air. the greater the heat differential the more light will bend. you can't control this with equipment.

-low humidity = less haze. if you live in a place where is hot but humid, you won't get a shot like this as easily as if you lived in AZ where you see it all the time.

-I don't think the issue is your lens, or your camera. you can slap a 2x TC or even rent a cheap 80-400, as long as you have the same subject distance this photographer had, you'll get the same perspective (although your image will have to be cropped because your sensor is larger). If you're trying to compose the same shot, you may have issues because the DOF will be narrower and thus blur a lot of hte nice heat distortion.

-have you considered this may have just been a post processed enhanced shot? The heat looks a bit fake in some spots. That or this person just got lucky with the right set of conditions.
 
Joined
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Missouri
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Thanks for the response, I was beginning to wonder...

The shot has almost no post-processing, and yes, he got lucky with conditions. However, this is a very common side-effect, and it's all over motorsport photography. What I'm trying to figure out is exactly what makes it work.

Thanks again for the response :smile:.
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2008
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292
Location
Connecticut
Hi Andrew,

I'm not sure myself but also read somewhere that longer you go the more you get this effect. The thread I was reading, don't have a reference, discribed it more as a problem to overcome but it was also referencing very long ranges 1000mm+. I don't think you would need that type of focal length to get the effect your seeking thought.

Love your other shots and very curious to see how you progress with this.
 
Joined
Feb 3, 2006
Messages
326
Location
London
This shot indeed is screaming that some PS filter was applied.
Which goes to show that you can easily Photoshop the look!

However, if you want to achieve such look, and the weather gives you a very hot helping hand by having a different temp between the tarmac and the air, either droplet suspended in the air to bend the light or dust or oil...then you need the foll:

1- Long lens, the 200G should do
2- f16+ bring the diffraction home
3- You POV has to be as low as possible on the ground and/or parallel to the ground seems to help.
4- Sweat and luck.
 
Joined
Feb 5, 2007
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2,722
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Banff National Park, Alberta
I'm really sorry, I don't know how to achieve this sort of thing. I know about it, I just know that according to rockwell (and a few other photogs that I chat with) that it typically starts to become problematic from 300mm (on full frame) and up. The longer the lens, the more problematic. I seriously don't see how a teleconverter would lessen something that in most circles is a problem.

None of that is overly helpful.

This could be, here is a few links to some AIS teles that you may or may not know about:

600 f/5.6 ED

400 f/3.5 ED and 400 f/5.6 ED

I know nothing about the 600 f/5.6 or the 400 f/5.6. I know a little about the 400 f/3.5. Roslett has reviewed the 3.5 and was less than impressed with it. I know that nikkor AIS (AKA Gregory) has one, and that he has said time and again that Roslett's review is incorrect. Gregory doesn't have all the internet clout that Roslett does but I bet he has as much first hand experience as he does. So whatever, YMMV.

Despite being old designs they are all ED so... who knows the aberrations might be controlled enough for shiny, high contrast metal objects...

I hope that is at all helpful. I just checked keh and they have one 400 f/3.5 for the eye opening price of nearly $1500. I've seen EX copies on there for around a grand... They don't have any of the others in stock, only a non AI 600 f/5.6, dunno if you wanna go there. CA and other stuff would have to be out of this world I'm thinking... maybe not someone else might know.
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2008
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292
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Connecticut
Piecing together more bits of info. Seems like it's basically the same effect of camera movement and how a telephoto magnifies it. Except instead of camera shake you have the air movement which the telephoto lens then magnifies.

Given the right conditions I think you should be able to capture it with the 200... Even shorter if it's hot enough.
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2009
Messages
586
Location
London
Is the 200mm f/2 bokeh simply not blurring the heatwaves out of existence?

Try cranking up the aperture or give the 2x tele a shot and see what f/4 or f/5.6 does for you.

Looking at the shadow, it's pretty early in the day or late in the evening.
Given that Desert Punk already pointed out you need a temperature variable, I'd say morning.

Try recreate that condition on a humid day.
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2010
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5,725
Location
Annapolis
This is a problem wildlife photographers try to avoid. It is all in the focal length (longer) and greater distance that the camera is away from the subject. Of course, conditions have to be right (or wrong) for this to happen. Best place to get this effect is at the beach or on asphalt where the heat is radiating back upward toward the sky. I'm sure you will have ample opportunity to get this effect shooting at high noon in August.:biggrin:

As for the posted image having this effect photoshopped in, I have to say it wasn't.
 
Joined
Aug 24, 2008
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828
Location
USA
Thanks for the response, I was beginning to wonder...

The shot has almost no post-processing, and yes, he got lucky with conditions. However, this is a very common side-effect, and it's all over motorsport photography. What I'm trying to figure out is exactly what makes it work.

Thanks again for the response :smile:.
It is a side effect of of hot exhausts of large displacement engines... drags, motorcycles, some cars. Your example is more rare. It looks hot road surface vectors
 
Joined
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Missouri
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Thanks for all the responses guys, I feel loved again :smile:.

I know the chap that took this pic, trust me, it isn't photoshopped one bit.

It is very interesting to me that this look might be achieved by a smaller aperture. I know the original shot was @ 5.6, but that was his max aperture on the 400. I have never tried shooting my 200/2 at 5.6, other than to do some trickery from time to time. Maybe I should try it?

I wish I could buy a lens just for this, but I can't, so, long-lens guys, tell me something...

What, technically is the difference between a real 400mm, and my 200mm with a TC that takes it to 400? I mean, we've already seen that I don't need ƒ2 to get this look, so is there a TC that would get me to 400 5.6? And if so, why would that avenue not work?

Lastly, I see this "mirage" effect all the time, just yeterday I was taking a walk down the street and noticed it, so it's there, I just have to figure out how to capture it, as it'll be a definite part of my photography when I do.

Thanks again guys!
 
Joined
Apr 30, 2011
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87
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Finland
When using a lens with 2x TC the depth of field is about half of naked lens.

400mm lens @ F4
vs
200mm+2x @ F4 (this has ~½ of dof compared)
 
Joined
Aug 25, 2009
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Missouri
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Well, I've decided to buy the TC-20E III, only problem is that everyone is crazy with the prices. Nikon shows it at $499 full retail, but $549 is as cheap as I can find it...and that's on backorder. Ebay prices are though the roof. Guess I'll just have to wait.
 
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
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Boise, ID
Let me know how you like the TC-20EIII when you get one. I tried one from Mark (Wileec on here) one day as he was trying out my 200 f/2 (and I got the chance to try his 400VR, wow lol) and it seemed pretty good. Had to stop down to f/5.6 to get decent results, but I'd say for car shots, wide open would work decently well. I'm still considering getting one myself eventually, but for now the 1.4 + D2x gets me the reach I need most of the time.
 
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Feb 15, 2009
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California
andrew that picture that your friend took looks amazing !!! i tried this a long long time ago but failed since i didn't have a tripod and it was hot as hell !
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Apr 30, 2011
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Finland
Let me know how you like the TC-20EIII when you get one. I tried one from Mark (Wileec on here) one day as he was trying out my 200 f/2 (and I got the chance to try his 400VR, wow lol) and it seemed pretty good. Had to stop down to f/5.6 to get decent results, but I'd say for car shots, wide open would work decently well. I'm still considering getting one myself eventually, but for now the 1.4 + D2x gets me the reach I need most of the time.
Here is an example of AF-S 200 F2 VR1 + TC20EIII on D700 @ f5
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Full size
 
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Joined
Aug 25, 2009
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Missouri
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David: Why do I get the impression that you and I would be best friends if you lived closer? lol

Luis: That's exactly what I want! What equipment did you use?

Joshua: Just wow.
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2010
Messages
708
Location
WV
Competition shooters call it mirage. It is diffraction of the light waves. In a no wind condition it will boil straight up, crosswind will make it run right or left. The diffraction will cause the apparent location of an object to change. The effect can easily be seen through a spotting scope.
 

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