I am using Nikon D5600 camera with Nikon 55-300mm VR lens. There seems to be a lot of haze in the photos, which are taken on a bright sunny day. Moreover, there are some photos in which the background is also unsharp (along with haze) even at a higher F-Stop value (f18).

The following photo is hazy, with an unsharp background. The trees in the background appear very unsharp. I took this photo with "Auto-area AF":

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These photos are also hazy:

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  • those links give me a 403 error. yes, i'm logged into flickr – Brett Schneider Mar 10 '18 at 14:58
  • @BrettSchneider: Sorry, I think that the photos were by default on private privacy mode. I changed it to "Public" now. – skm Mar 10 '18 at 16:42

the haze consists of particles in the air. there is moisture, in case of the airport exhaust fumes, mist and sometimes smoke. when you are taking photos over a large distance with a long focal length, it's like looking through a very long cone of air/ atmosphere.

try again in the desert, you will find the effect there is minimised and colours much more expressive.

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  • For sure, the particles in the air play a very important role for a pic to be hazy but in the case frozen lake's photo, I am not sure about it. The photo was taken when the sun was on the right side (90 degrees) and it looks hazy but the photos that I have taken by facing opposite to the sun (i.e. my back towards Sun), the photos are sharp and without any haze. Seems like some sort of filter is needed...but again not sure about it. – skm Mar 10 '18 at 16:51
  • you can stretch the colours you have along the histogram, but with that raw material, you may find that colour resolution has suffered. i would say the lake picture has moisture in the air. having the sun in your back reduces the of the sunlight being diffused by the water particles. – Brett Schneider Mar 10 '18 at 17:23

In addition to haze, at f/18 used for the first photo you are well into diffraction territory with the APS-C Nikon D5600. With a pixel pitch of 3.92 microns, the Diffraction Limited Aperture of the Nikon D5600 starts at around f/6.3. Even f/8 and f/10 used in the second and third photos, respectively, are impacted to a lesser degree by diffraction.

Diffraction has the effect of softening image detail due to the interaction of light waves with the edge of the aperture blades as the light passes through the lens. The narrower the aperture, the higher percentage of the light passing through the lens is affected by diffraction.

At 1/100 second the first image may or may not also be suffering a bit from camera shake as well as diffraction. Regardless of how good your shooting technique is when hand holding your camera, a good tripod will always be more stable.

Another factor that may be in play is lense flare, which can reduce contrast even when specular flare (those aperture shaped light spots) is not noticeable. Veiling flare reduces the overall contrast of an image. The fact that you are getting less contrast when the sun is to your side than when it is behind you suggests flare may be playing a role. The best way to reduce flare is to use a well made lens hood or otherwise block strong sources of of-axis light from shining on the front of the lens. Cheap knock-off lens hoods can sometimes make things worse if the inside surface is shiny and reflective.

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  • Thanks for your detailed answer. I was already using lens hood with non-reflective inner surface. I started taking pics of the lake at around f5 or f8 and increased upto f18 because I wanted to keep the background also in focus but it didn''t happen. Any suggestion how could have I kept the tress in the background also focussed/sharp? – skm Mar 11 '18 at 7:48

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