Those of you who own long lenses might want to give this five-and-a-half minute video a watch. In it, wildlife and nature photographer Steve Perry breaks down what heat wave distortion is, how it can affect your images, and offers a few tips if you want to ensure your images stay as sharp as possible.
As Perry explains in the video, heat wave distortion is when the heat rising off the Earth creates a hazy aura of sorts that blurs subject matter, especially at a distance and towards the horizon line. While we often see this happening on asphalt roads, it’s present across a number of environments and if not accounted for when shooting, can lead to unwanted blurriness in your images.
Long lenses in particular are susceptible to heat wave distortion because they compress the composition, effectively making the distortion more prominent.
Unfortunately there is no perfect solution for ridding your photos of this issue, but Perry goes over a number of ways to at least minimize the damage done so your landscape shots turn out sharp no matter what the temperature.