Photographing fog is a learning experience! I'd waited all year for this. My first foggy autumnal morning of the season and I couldn't wait to get outdoors. I ate breakfast hastily and by 7.30 am I was outside with the camera.
There was a sense of mystery as I walked along the paths never knowing what lay ahead. Absorbing the hazy mood of the moment.
Autumn was still in its infancy.
Many leaves had taken to their autumn attire and plenty had already made their final descent to the woodland floor.
Photographing fog - Treat it like Snow
Fog isn’t that easy to photograph – just like snow it tricks your camera into thinking that it’s brighter than it really is. If you’re taking raw’s make sure you check your histogram. I underexposed my initial shots. Unfortunately I couldn’t recover them in adobe camera raw.
The LCD screen fooled me for a short time!
Once I’d started to check the histogram I increased the exposure compensation by a couple of stops. Some photographers might want to keep their photos darker to give a particular mood to their fog images. While for me I wanted a bright hazy feel with foliage colour.
Photographing fog – using Auto Focus
I also had problems with auto focus when I first went outdoors. There was so much fog in places that the camera found it hard to focus on a subject.
I use manual focus for probably 85% of my photography so my eyes are quite well adapted to seeing what’s in focus and what isn’t.
Looking through a viewfinder in dim foggy light under a thick tree canopy to focus manually wasn’t easy even for me. Sometimes the images were not as sharp as I would have liked.
Bring a Tripod or Monopod.
I love to work in shallow depths of field to give a sense of exploration to my photographs.
I want you the viewer to be drawn into the scene.
When taking photos in fog you’ll soon discover that the light moves and changes in intensity. Though you’d hardly realise with your own eyes that it’s happening. Next time I’ll bring my tripod so that I can work with slower shutter speeds.
After shooting in the fog for a few hours I didn't need to compensate for exposure as much as the fog gradually lifted from the landscape.
Using shallow depths of field means that you also have to think about what you’re going to focus on. Sometimes it was a tree trunk while at other times it was just the fallen leaves. Or in this photo ...a drinks bottle just left in the middle of the path.
I edited the raw images in my usual style once back home. Moreover I adjusted the degrees of kelvin to give more 'golden' tones to the scenes. If you only take jpegs you can usually adjust your degrees of kelvin in the white balance section of your camera. Check out my date with Kelvin here - Rock on Kelvin.
Sometimes it's surprising what you'll see on the screen. Things that you didn't even notice when taking the photograph.
...someone was watching me!
I discovered a real Perthshire Tree Hugger! Can you see her?