heat waves and image quality

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Driving down the highways in the summer on hot days one often sees a mirage against the pavement causued by the heat (never see it in winter). I was wondering if in extreme heat, there is a problem with "heat waves" softening focus? For example say you are shooting a canyon wall that is baking in the late afternoon sun (while you of course are in the shade).

A friend wants to go to Utah this July (nobody there, long days, consistent light) and I was wondering if the 100 + degree heat will cause problems with distant landscapes. Anybody have any expereince with this? Normally I go to Utah and Arizona in the spring or fall when it's much cooler.



-- todd tiffan (newhope@4dv.net), January 17, 2000


Under very extreme situations I have encountered this, but it is rare. If you shoot on a black highway in 120 deg. mid day temp., you will undoubtedly experience this. However, the good thing is, if it exist, you will usually notice it looking through your loupe on the gg. I have shot in AZ in the dead of summer, also Death Valley and have not experienced any mysterious heat waves... only ones I antipicated appearing on film. The hardest part is overcoming the sun heating up your equipment... it can heat up the film holders and camera / tripod to the point you can not touch it!

-- Bill Glickman (bglick@pclv.com), January 17, 2000.

I like heat waves. They can be used for creative purposes. I would suggest that you not really care whether it is a factor or not, and incorporate it into the photograph. My observation is that, you will not see them unless you are using a telephoto lens that compresses the scene (and atmosphere) and makes them appear.

-- franki wango (MrWango@worldnet.att.net), January 19, 2000.

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