Saturday, January 12, 2013

Foggy morning

An unusual heat wave in the middle of winter caused Raleigh to be socked in with fairly heavy fog Friday night. This morning (Saturday), though the fog wasn't extremely dense, it persisted through several hours of daylight. I headed for a favorite "urban-rural" area to see what I could see.

Moderate fog can be deceptive. Things nearby look quite clear. It's not at all like the "pea soup" experience of almost losing your hand held in front of your face. Still, the distant parts of a landscape can completely disappear, and most interestingly for images in a two dimensional medium like photography, there is a kind of gradient of clarity. Objects become gradually more diffuse, less detailed, and less colorful when they are further away. It's the same as the basic principle of aerial perspective, only turbocharged by the fog. I wanted to see if I could use these conditions to add a little something to my photos.

The first image is an establishing shot, to give you an idea of the area where I began shooting. This is a stitched panorama of ten overlapping shots. The sky was completely uniform and uninteresting, so I filled it (by my choice of where I stood) with tree branches.

Like a cloudy day, only maybe even more so, a foggy day reflects light in all directions. Some light entered the usually impenetrable shade of the enclosed patio on the end of the old house.

The white fence and distant trees show the signs of aerial perspective.

It was easy for the camera to see into the shade, thanks to the fill light from the fog.

Joggers and walkers appeared out of the fog and disappeared into it.

The birds are fairly clear, while the fencing behind them is half obscured. I think the grass adds a three dimensional effect to the picture simply because it is so much more distinct and saturated with color in the foreground than in the background.

This detail shot doesn't have any obvious characteristics of fog, but the soft, even light did bring out the color contrasts of the awning and the emergency fire gear.

I moved on to the Raleigh Greenway, where this bridge and the trees were complemented by the perspective enhancements of the mist.

A treehouse in the woods! What a fun place for a young person to hide out on a day like this!

As I headed back, others were heading out for some exercise. Here we have six legs jogging into the mysterious distance.

(Lenses used: Canon 16-35/2.8, 24-105/4, 70-200/2.8 - a flexible trio of overlapping zooms, two of them with image stabilization. Among other things, this enabled the slow shutter speed of the last shot, allowing enough motion blur to lend some dynamism to the dog and man.)



  1. Great photos, as always, and a good photography lesson in the mix, as well. Bravo, Jess. :-)

    1. Thank you! I try to scribble about why and how rather than just where and when, but without making it all about gear and technique so that, for example, my painter friends might have some interest in my ramblings. Feedback is always appreciated. Maybe some photographers would like more detail about equipment used?


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