So after yesterday’s damp and thick pea soup of a morning, I was thrilled to see semi-clear skies with waning gibbous moon and a few stars while driving in today.
Imagine the surprise when I reached the top of the ridgeline where the Prairie trail and the shortcut intersect and turned around to take in the view of Red Wing; fog had rolled in from the river, fog that hadn’t been visible or suggested anywhere on the drive in. And it looked oh-so-lovely it was worth the time to set up the tripod and take a decent shot or two.
And the views from the eastern overlook were not just gorgeous in their half-shrouded mystery, but also fascinating in the mouse-staring-at-a-snake meaning… minus the danger. Every time I looked away, the contours had changed by the time I looked back, making new patterns and changing what had been “same-old, same-old” into something new and interesting.
Even when the fog is your subject, though, you still have to take care with your exposure or it’ll turn out flat and washed out.
Make sure you include some anchoring point in the foreground that’s sharply in focus; it’ll set up the rest of the picture to accent the soft reflected light of the fog. Play with the light; maybe you want silhouettes, in which case expose for the fog and not the other objects in the photo; or maybe you want the fog to create that ghosting effect around a bird… or a tombstone… or a bridge leading out of a fog bank and transporting the viewer into the unknown. Just like with frost and snow, your camera’s light meter might mislead you, so use the information provided, check your histogram, and magnify the shot on your camera’s display to check you achieved the effect you wanted. And if you didn’t, change one setting by a measured amount and take another shot. But, oh, be quick! Foggy conditions can change swiftly and completely.