Lost in the fog

Fog shrouds Lackawanna State Park on a mid-autumn morning, 20 October 2012.

Spent Saturday morning up at Lackawanna State Park, lost in one of the thickest fogs I can remember having seen in a while. The lost part is, of course, more about my state of mind than any lack of physical orientation, which I figure is a better kind of lost all around. It’s comforting in a way, being able to feel the natural world around me that thickly.

It’s also the easiest way to return to a familiar location and find it completely changed. In the fog, even the familiar becomes difficult to recognize; you lose most of your sense of depth and distance, contrast fades, and as the fog moves you’ll find that things appear and vanish again without warning.

Fog shrouds Lackawanna State Park on a mid-autumn morning, 20 October 2012.

Fog shrouds Lackawanna State Park on a mid-autumn morning, 20 October 2012.

I guess the trick to shooting in the fog is to roll with the punches. The exposure is thrown off by the fog, so you’re constantly making decisions about how you’re going to render the scene. Expose for the fog? White or gray? Or expose for the subject itself? On the one hand shooting in the fog is more demanding, but on the other it can offer a lot more artistic freedom.

Fog shrouds Lackawanna State Park on a mid-autumn morning, 20 October 2012.

Fog shrouds Lackawanna State Park on a mid-autumn morning, 20 October 2012.

Mostly I wandered. I worked more with trees, since the way they rise through the mist is interesting. I’m very happy with how some of these turned out. They capture that cold, damp, autumn morning feeling that is so much a part of how I conceptualize the season.

This last shot was a bit of an experiment, a “what if” image. Looking across the lake near the east shore docks, the other side was barely visible, just a few trees standing through the thinner sections of mist. I wasn’t sure there was really enough to make a photo with, but the focus was able to lock on so I shot a couple of different exposures. Just to see.

Fog shrouds Lackawanna State Park on a mid-autumn morning, 20 October 2012.

I’m not sure how I feel about it, if it’s really minimalist or just not quite workable. I don’t love it the way I do some of the morning’s other images, but it was still a good experiment.

Brent Pennington is a freelance photographer and the driving force behind The Roving Photographer. When he\’s not working with portraiture or promotional clients, he’s usually in the field, hiking, or kayaking in pursuit of nature and wildlife shots.

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2 Comments

  1. Whats the verdict on exposure metering and setting in fog. Do you dial in some overexposure like snow?

    • Brent Pennington

      Depends on the look you want. To get the fog bright, then treating it the same as snow works well – but there’s a few shots where I wanted the fog more as a background element, so metered for the subject instead and let the fog fall a little darker so it drew less attention.

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