I find myself photographing in a lot of bad weather. What this means is that I spend a lot of time wiping water, sea spray and condensation off of my lens and filters. If I'm lucky I'm shooting away from the wind which greatly minimises the problem, but often I'm shooting into the storm and so it's a bit of a problem. My usual solution of "wipe and shoot" with a lens cloth (I use and recommend these ones by Matin) works, but if the rain is particularly heavy then more rain has hit my lens by the time I'm ready to fire the shutter. Another problem is that sometimes water drops down between the filters in my filter holder, which isn't always apparent at the time without constantly taking the filters out to check them, or studious review of an image on the LCD once taken. One way I reduce that particular problem is by using a chamois (which I usually drape over my camera to help protect it) to cover the top of the filter slots.
Nonetheless I often find that an image I like has been ruined by water spots. I've recorded a short video showing how I get around these which you might find useful.
If you're pressed for time, here's the short version (or you can skip to about 7:20 in the video to get the main points) :
- Wipe your lens and filters, wait for the camera to settle down, and take the shot
- Do that several times so that I have multiple versions of the same shot. It's unlikely the water spots will be in the same place in each image.
- Select the images in Lightroom with differently positioned water spots, and Open as Layers in Photoshop via the Edit In right click menu.
- Auto-align the layers in Photoshop
- Create a layer mask and then paint black on it to remove the water spots by showing the un-tainted image on an underlying layer
It's pretty straightforward, indeed a simple use of PS layers. But it's also a very practical application which can be useful in other situations where an unwanted object is momentarily in frame, or to combine the 'best moment' (such as the best wave as I did in the video) into the final image.