Photographing in the Morning Fog

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Morning Fog and Palm Trees

It looks like many areas in the San Francisco Bay Area are in the same heavy morning fog today. In my neighborhood, visibility was about one city block at around 8:30 am. It is spooky to see everything coated in light gray. From a photographer’s perspective, fog can be used to your advantage as long as you have knowledge and are prepared. Otherwise, your image may end up gray, flat and uninteresting.

Unless you are shooting at night with a very distinguished lighting, you tend to lose contrast in the fog. This is because the fog scatters light sources and distributes lighting more evenly; thus, subjects are lit from more angles, weakening contrast, just like on a cloudy day. One way to avoid ending up with flat photos is to give it depth. The more layers, the better. In the above photo, I have a part of palm tree close to me, then another palm tree about 50 meters from me, and different trees slightly further on the left. There are more trees in the background disappearing in the fog. Since the fog was rather dense, it did not make sense to give it more depth, since nothing could be captured but fog. These layers of trees give the image depth and prevent it from totally washed out. Having the foreground palm tree close to me, it also gave the image more tonal diversity.

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» Street scene » Photographing in the Morning Fog
On March 13, 2013
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