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Dealing with sea-spray and haze.

ckristoff 13 994 Wales
20 Nov 2009 6:20PM

I spent around 90 minutes on Newgale beach this afternoon, around tea-time.

I notice the air wasn't very clear, plus in the distance you could see that sea-spray was in the air, above the waves.

Using a tripod and setting my camera to continuous shooting, I attempted to take a bunch of shots of waves crashing against the cliffs in the distance.

As I felt uncomfortable about changing lenses, I used my usual 24-105mm zoom. The resulting images weren't brilliant, as I probably should have expected.

Is there some way to deal with such conditions? I was thinking maybe a ND filter?

Excuse me for being dim on this matter.


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User_Removed 10 2.2k 3 United Kingdom
20 Nov 2009 6:40PM
The problem you face is that each and every droplet of water in the air, be it from haze or from spray, is reflecting light into the lens, thereby resulting in overexposure on longer shutter speeds. Your best defence is a polariser because water will polarise the light it reflects. I doubt it will get rid of all of the haze but it should significantly reduce the amount of returned light. Be careful on Wide angle, however, because you will get a dark patch at 90 degrees to the position of the sun.
ckristoff 13 994 Wales
20 Nov 2009 6:55PM

thank you very much for your informative reply.

I've only been using digital for 18 months. Maybe it's time that I experimented a lot more!

I forgot to mention that I used Aperture priority at the f22 setting.
My lens was set to between 70 to 105mm.

Perhaps using the lens hood would also help?

User_Removed 10 2.2k 3 United Kingdom
20 Nov 2009 7:28PM
The lens hood is for keeping direct sunlight off the outermost element of the lens. It wont help with the amount of light being returned by the spray. The polariser gives you control over the light coming off the spray. It relies on the fact that all of the wavicles of electromagnietic radiation that make up photons become aligned in one direction when they pass through water. This is what polarisation is. The polariser only allows through light wavicles that are aligned in one direction, excluding all others. By turning the polariser so that it is not aligned with the light wavicles that are returned from the from the spray you will stop them from getting into the lens. You will also probably lose light reflected by the sea but to my mind you have no other way of controlling the light that comes off the spray.

And this isn't an issue specific to digital photography.

mattw 14 5.2k 10 United Kingdom
20 Nov 2009 10:35PM
Sea Sprey is a common problem when photographing at the coast. When there is a strong wind, it can coat the lens in secconds, and it will ruin the image quality.

Take a good lens cloth, and wipe the lens/filter reguarly - with a strong wind, I sometimes need to clean the lens/filter between each shot.
ckristoff 13 994 Wales
21 Nov 2009 11:14AM
Chris and Matt,

thank you both for your valuable advice.


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