Photo Edu: Capturing Fog
Fog has a magical way of weaving through and between the trees creating an ambient mysterious feel. This mist-over can usually form anytime during the mid evening up until the early hours of the dawn. Similar to the effect of haze, fog affects how the image is captured on camera. Images taken during a foggy day can look washed out and flat. However, there’s a few techniques where you can add that extraordinary atmosphere to your pictures.
Nature’s Soft Box
When it’s foggy, you are literally inside a fog. In essence this functions similar to a soft box, where light is diffused and reduces the color saturation and contrast. This means that you can go out take a picture any time of the day even during noon and not be wary of harsh shadows. On the other hand, since there is less light overall, longer exposure times may be required.
In terms of composition, try to include your key elements in the foreground. The quality increases with distance, with the nearest elements maintaining a higher level of contrast and color compared to those further away, giving a feeling of depth and more range of tones. This range and contrast allow the viewer to compare the effect that the fog has on the scene.
You can’t change the fog but you can work with it. The thick mist creates classic, surreal, and quiet mood. As the fog becomes heavier, details are removed, emphasizing the main shapes and elements of the scene. The fog washes out the details until only the dark shape of the subject remains. You can accentuate the mood by leveraging the silhouette and create a stark striking contrast. Try to adjust the exposure based on the fog to in order to get the dark silhouettes of the shapes.
Although fog does create a serious tone, you can always bring a touch of fun with some color. Before you go out, go into your closet and look for a colorful prop to bring like a red umbrella, a bright raincoat, or the classic yellow gumboots. Even if the fog gets too dense or the scene looking neutral, you can always brighten it up with your individuality.
Most importantly, when you head out into the fog, dress warmly, stay dry and have fun.
About the author, Teresa Lee:
My life has been about combining the worlds of technology and creativity. I’m currently an IT Project Manager working at contemporary-luxury apparel brand, Kit and Ace. For me, it’s been a harmonious blend of using my skills in high tech, indulging my love for fashion, and being in a fun creative environment. I’ve been dappling in photography for a few years now but it was not until 2014 when I really focused on refining my techniques and style. Since then, my passion for photography has grown, new opportunities have opened and, most importantly, along the way I’ve made new friends.