Chasing the...Fog!

EMII4535-1 copy.jpg

I posted this shot to my Instagram last night and what i was amazed by were the amount of people who messaged me asking how to photograph in dull and misty conditions and that they would never have ventured out on a day like that. I love foggy/misty conditions, i think often people mix them up with dull, damp, grey conditions. There is a difference and it often has to do with the cloud.

An overcast day can be very boring for photography, thick grey cloud with no texture in them produces flat boring light. However yesterday when i shot this image there was fog and some mist, as you can see behind the cottage. This gave the image atmosphere and mood which matched the deep tones of the brown grass and flowing water.

These conditions can be epic for photography! For a number of reasons:
1) Atmosphere

Do you know what i mean by atmosphere? It is often that Wow factor of an image, the factor that makes people think “i would loved to have been there”. Fog and mist often set the atmosphere and the mood in the shot

2) Mood

Mood ties in with atmosphere but moody conditions are often those dark tones that almost make the image look sinister. Moody photography is something a lot of people specialise in and they do very well. If you want to shoot moodier images look for dark shadows, strong contrast in the shot and layers to give the image depth.

3) Something Different!

I think a lot of people shy away from these conditions because they are miserable looking, a lot of the time! But for photographers they can produce some of the most rewarding images because you need to really think about your composition. You need to pick a composition and basically tailor your shot to suit the weather. The above image would not look half as impressive without the fog in the background, the scene as a whole is quite nice with the cottage as a focal point and the river providing a leading line to that but the mist and fog just gave it that extra umph!

So where do i go next time i see misty foggy conditions?

EMII4409-1 copy.jpg

Well there are a couple of things to consider and know about when fog may form. I’ll start with this, if you live near hills/woodlands and you see them shrouded in cloud there is a good chance of mist surrounding the trees/woods. If the cloud is hanging low and the conditions are damp then hopefully you will get mist as you walk through the woods. I shot these woodlands on Xmas Eve, i could not see the hills in front of me as i left home but i was hopeful it would settle among the trees, and luckily it did. I was imagining a scene from sleepy hollow!

But how do i Know when it will be foggy?

Bear with me for this next part, we get a bit scientific!

You will often see fog rise from Lakes/fields on those cold clear mornings as the sun comes up in Autumn. Fog is essentially water present in the air condensing to form this mist/fog we see. In a nutshell, fog is formed where there is a temperature difference between the ground and the air. This is why you often see those foggy mornings in autumn. The ground has absorbed all the heat over the summer months and now when temperatures start to drop this warm ground collides with the cooler air temperature causing fog to form. Notice above i mentioned Clear mornings, if there is cloud present this insulates the earth hence the temperatures do not drop much however on clear mornings (by clear i mean little to no cloud cover) the air temperature will drop. Also when using websites like Yr.no they give you the humidity measurement, if humidity is high and there are clear skies given with cold temperatures, head out that morning! Fog also forms over hills and valleys, often this is low hanging cloud too. Whatever the case these are some of my favorite conditions to photograph and should be for you too!

Obviously there is a lot of luck involved too but effort is always rewarded remember that. If it doesn’t go well the first time, try again!

EMII3872 copy.jpg
EMII3742 copy.jpg
EMII3970 copy.jpg
EMII4403 copy.jpg

You may have heard of a cloud inversion. These are often shot from Mountain tops and are pretty cool. I have never shot a cloud inversion per say however i do know that to get a cloud inversion you need to have very low lying cloud and nothing else. No middle or high cloud. So if you get Low lying cloud and hike up to the top of a mountain like Brandon or Carrauntoohill then you may witness a sight very special!

So i hope that helps anyone with shooting in foggy/misty conditions and where possibly to head to get a nice shot. Stay safe!

Sean.