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Shooting in fog

Keith Dobbs , Dec 01, 2009; 05:23 p.m.

I recently went out in search of fog to photograph and got some decent pictures. Does anyone have any good tips for shooting in fog (lighting, distance, angles)? Will it be detrimental to my equipment if my camera and tripod are not weather sealed?

Large photo attachment:
(Tree -- 546 x 900 photo)

Responses


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Keith Dobbs , Dec 01, 2009; 05:24 p.m.

Here is another shot I got.

Large photo attachment:
(Path -- 1500 x 1000 photo)

John MacPherson , Dec 01, 2009; 06:29 p.m.

Lovely images Keith! Very nice indeed - you've really captured the diffuse beauty that fogs imparts to landscapes.

Camera should be fine - give it a wipe from time to time to get the moisture off.

Tips - watch for sun peeping through as there could be shafts of light spilling down through the fog when it does (if it does!) and this can give some fantastic, if fleeting, effects. Distance - make the most of the diffusion effect that fog brings - can lend pictures a very special atmosphere.

Brien Szabo , Dec 01, 2009; 07:31 p.m.

depending on the density of the fog I tend to shoot it +1 off the normal meter reading. This gives it a little more 'white' rather than the murky gray that you can get. But like I said, the thickness of the fog comes into play - so bracket it to your liking.

Luis G , Dec 01, 2009; 07:43 p.m.

Keith, your images seem underexposed, which frequently happens when the whiteness of the fog fools the meter into underexposure. Next time you're in fog, try the following:

Go into your exposure compensation dial/wheel, and make a bracket. First shot at +/- zero, 2nd at +1, 3rd at +1.5m and maybe one at +2.

Keith Dobbs , Dec 01, 2009; 08:48 p.m.

Thanks for the helpful tips! Now I just have to wait until the next time there is fog to experiment a bit more. As for the underexposed comment-It was my intent to make the first image, the one with the trees, underexposed because I wanted a more ominous feeling to go along with it. Ill definately bracket my exposures next time. Thanks.

Keith Dobbs , Dec 01, 2009; 08:48 p.m.

Thanks for the helpful tips! Now I just have to wait until the next time there is fog to experiment a bit more. As for the underexposed comment-It was my intent to make the first image, the one with the trees, underexposed because I wanted a more ominous feeling to go along with it. Ill definately bracket my exposures next time. Thanks.

Steven F , Dec 02, 2009; 07:00 a.m.

Both are fine photos but I find the first one to be a little busy with no strong focus. I would suggest looking for area with some symmetry, fewer small branches and something to draw the users attention to. I find your second photo more appealing for those reasons. However, if you find an image that works because it has no symmetry, lots of branches, and nothing to focus on, ignore my suggestions!

Other than that brighten the images a little. Camera wipe off any condensation that developes on it while you are shooting. Since foggy days are typically cool days, put the camera in a zip lock bag before you go back inside your home and let it warm up slowly. If you don't you could get some condensation on it.

Keith Dobbs , Dec 02, 2009; 09:59 a.m.

Thanks for the ziplock bag suggestion. I will give that a try next time. I do see what you mean about the lack of symmetry. The forest I was shooting in has tons of undergrowth and small trees so it maybe it nearly impossible to get a shot without the small branches. Maybe I'll try shooting in a nearby pine forest soon to see what I can do.

David Henderson , Dec 02, 2009; 12:07 p.m.

Remember that reflective light meters ( like your in-camera meter) will try and turn your light coloured fog into a mid-tone if the fog dominates the area from which the meter is reading, and you'll need to increase exposure accordingly by maybe 1-2 stops for digital.
If, like your photographs the scene is relatively complex with some dark subject in the metering zone, then your meter will be indicating a little more exposure anyway than if you wer metering pure fog, or spotmetering fog. So IMO your shot 2-which I like btw- in my view needs a stop to a stop and a quater more. If the shot had been more dominated by fog then the exposure reading given would have been less and you'd need to make a bigger adjustment. Its very like the way you need to think in the snow.

Alternatively, spot metering can be useful in these circumstances since you can judge what you need to do to get a little detail in the trees whilst at the same time not blowing out the fog or killing its atmosphere


Fog in the trees at Virginia Water

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