Taking dramatic photos is my ultimate aim and changes in the weather can be a deciding factor for a shoot. For a landscape photographer, these changes can either work very well or not at all. For me, taking pictures in the mist or fog is one of my favourite pastimes. However, a lot of people are put off by this as it can be messy and of course – wet.
My tools of choice are my DSLR camera, a medium lens about 28-300mm and a good tripod. You’ll find it helpful to put a bag over the camera in between shots to keep off the damp. Wiping down the lens every now and then if it gathers condensation.
Once you have your kit ready you’ll need to decide on where the best venue is for the shoot. Mist is basically low cloud and if you are on ground level you will not see many high objects, so avoid them. Make sure the subjects are many and scattered throughout the depth of field. For instance, trees are great as there are always many and drop back into the mist – you’ll see the closest ones clearly and the furthest merge into the cloudscape.
The image above: ISO 100 / f8 / .77 sec. The nearest object to the camera is the most important as that is the clearest. We don’t need an aperture like f11 here – because the front few trees are sharp enough – the fog takes over when the trees go out of focus. You can also see clearly how an average forest becomes quite mystical under a damp cloud of light.
Mist will also hide things that might be unsightly during regular weather. So you can use this to your advantage. I also find that boats on a river work really well – in fact, river shots including bridges are far better in the fog.
The image above was taken at 28mm – which on a full frame sensor is quite wide. You can also use the zoom to bring objects closer – especially when the mist is further away.
The above example is taken at 68mm which is close to eye vision on a full frame sensor. Looking through the trees like this creates a natural frame and the subject is suddenly the trees in the background. Another of my favourite ploys is to use a path which slowly dissolves into the white space – paths are perfect intros into any photo, let alone on a misty morning.
Taken from my trip to Tenerife the above image highlights the path idea and because of the foliage, gives a real mystery feel to the photo. At this point it is worth noting that as a rule, colours will not be evident in low lighting conditions – they need sunlight. Getting snaps when the sun is rising over the fog is pretty much a dream shoot – but I have managed it on a few occasions.
The above image was taken on a mobile but you can easily see the sudden impact of colour within the photograph. Lastly, back to images without the sunlight. The next one was taken from a bridge on the River Thames looking west, towards Vauxhall. Focal length again was around 70mm but you can see how important it is to have objects at various distances from the camera so they fade from view.
Hopefully, this blog has given you an insight into my mind and how I take photos in misty and murky conditions. Please use the contact page for more information and one to one training.