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Photography/Cloudy photo due to condensation on lens


I have a photo that was taken a minute after leaving an air-conditioned environment and stepping outside into Florida humidity, so the condensation that instantly developed on the lens appear as cloudy on the photo.  Is there software or a service that could alter/edit the photo to take away the cloudiness?

Hi John,

An interesting question! I did a little Google searching and failed to find any Photoshop "actions" that would help. It actually seems that photographers are more interested in adding this "artistic softening" to their images than removing it!

But I did find one forum discussion of a simple Photoshop procedure that might help:

If you're familiar with Photoshop's Levels, Brightness, Contrast, and Sharpening controls, the basic idea is to use them to reverse the increased whiteness, decreased contrast, and slight blurring that mist or fogging produce. The original poster included a URL to one of his fogged photos and one of the responders similarly included a URL to his processed result. It looked much better.

To avoid having the same thing happen to me, when I venture outside, I leave the lens cap on until the entire camera has come up (or down) to the ambient temperature. The cap slows the rate at which the lens temp equalizes, and reduces the temperature shock. It takes a few minutes, but the lens doesn't fog.

I hope the technique described in the above forum thread works for you. I'm going to play around with this myself... so thanks for the question!




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Dave Powell


My specialty is highly atmospheric digital-infrared photography, and I'd love to answer questions about digital-IR equipment and procedures. I can also help people understand classic "old-photog" techniques (like "Sunny 16 Exposure" and "Hyperfocal Focusing")... which are still useful today. I can answer questions about processing, improving, manipulating, and printing digital photos with programs like Photoshop. I'm an inveterate tinkerer, and may be able to answer questions about making one's own photo equipment (such as DIY special-effect filters, close-up adapters, and pin-hole cameras); about doing super-closeup macro photography (film or digital); and about using older lenses on cameras made by different manufacturers (such as Nikon lenses on Canon bodies and Pentax lenses on Olympus bodies. I can answer general purchasing questions, such as "Can any of the digital SLRs use my old Minolta film lenses?" But as others have noted, nobody can identify the "best" camera for another person. That calls for extensive web research plus hands-on time in a good camera store. (But I can point to great web resources for doing this research!)


Over the past 40 years, I've used a huge variety of film cameras (SLR, rangefinder, point-and-shoot, high-end, fantastique-plastique, fully manual, highly automated, 35mm, 110, medium format, Polaroid, folding, even homemade pinhole). I've used digital cameras since the late 1990s (began when I was writing user manuals for Polaroidís digital cameras). I've also won juried photo competitions in the Boston area, and have exhibited and sold original prints. (Amazingly, my best-selling print was taken with a lowly 0.8-megapixel camera, and very carefully processed to print at 12x18 inches!) Iíve taught local adult-ed classes about digital cameras, Photoshop image processing, and better photography through self-understanding. Iíve contributed to Popular Photographyís tips and tricks column, and am currently writing a book about taking better photos through self-understanding.

Popular Photography (tips and tricks column), plus dozens of magazines and blog sites that have carried my bylined articles about computers, networking, information security, and eLearning.

Masters in Science Communications, Boston University, 1980. Bachelors in Mathematics, Denison University, 1970.

Awards and Honors
I've won several juried photo competitions in the Boston area, and have exhibited and sold original prints... especially digital-infrared landscapes, architectural abstracts, and cityscapes. I've also won multiple international awards in the technical-writing field... including a business press equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. And I've even written for Sesame Street!

Past/Present Clients
Winchester Recreation Department (taught photography classes) Jenks Senior Center (taught photography and Photoshop classes) Polaroid (wrote their digital-camera user manuals until they entered Chapter 11)

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