In landscape photography we often prefer to have everything sharp. By choosing the proper aperture and focusing at the right distance, we can achieve a reasonably sharp picture throughout the scene. Haze reduces the perception of sharpness. The key word here is perception. As opposed to out-of-focus pictures, as the distance grows, the haze gets stronger. We experience this when wandering in the early morning near a body of water.
Lightroom Dehaze does a great job of reducing the haze that can be seen in some pictures. Is Lightroom Dehaze a good tool for a landscape photographer? Sure it is! But not necessarily for the reasons you may think.
I like to convey a mood in my photography. I often look for weather conditions that create haze or fog. Haze forms by the cooling of the land that occurs after sunset and by heat conduction that occurs when a body of water is a different temperature than the surrounding air. Haze and fog help to create separation… they can create a sense of depth that is often missing in landscape photography. Without depth, landscape photography sometimes appears flat.
My Hakuna Matata (no worries) picture above benefits from the haze… it creates a feeling of calm and peace. The water in front of the boat look like oil. Even at a focal length of 65mm, there is a perception of distance between the various elements in the picture due to the fog that is present in the scene.
Compare it to the picture below. I used LR’ Removing the haze from the image above, but this did not serve the photo well. The third dimension is mostly lost and the hard edges don’t convey the same mood.
Whether in post processing or when taking the initial shot, the most important question is: What do you want to convey to your audience? Based on your response, feel free to use the tools at your disposal to help convey your message. If there is some haze in your picture, Lightroom Dehaze might help dehaze or en-haze it depending on the message you want to convey!
Answer the following question for all of us…Do you prefer a photo with or without haze? Tell us why…