In New Orleans, we don’t get snow very often at all. We get a good deal of rain and a lot of heat! The temperatures swing wildly when summer changes to winter (we don’t really get a ‘fall’) and when winter changes back to summer (again, we don’t really get a spring either!)
So, one interesting weather event that we get is fog. It happens mostly around those changing seasons and it can be quite think at times.
Taking photographs of fog presents unique challenges, but certainly, there’s no magic to it.
As with any ‘special’ type of photography, shooting in fully automatic mode on your camera just won’t do – sorry to break that to you. The camera will try to ‘fix’ the situation and the results will be less than stunning (unless you get pretty lucky)
So, let’s dive in, there are a few things that will help your fog photos look their best;
- Shoot in Manual mode (this is digital, there’s nothing to be afraid of!)
- Foggy days are like overcast days, except that you’re actually ‘IN’ the cloud! So, it can be much darker than a day with any sun whatsoever.
- This means that you may need to adjust your ISO to a higher number than you’re normally want to (ISO 100 is usually considered the best quality). On a foggy day, you may need to bump the ISO up to 200, or even 400!
- Stop down your lens aperture a bit. You’ll be tempted to shoot ‘wide open’ because of the ISO, but the smaller aperture will allow the camera to ‘paint’ in more of the fog.
- Your shutter speed is going to depend on a few factors – for example; are there going to be moving objects in the photos? Will you be using a tripod? Shooting handheld will require a faster shutter speed of course.
- Zoom in. This one is often overlooked. Have you ever noticed that it always seems to be foggier the further away from you the scene gets? Well, zoom into that area to capture the fog that’s “over there”.
- Finally, overexpose just a bit. Fog is kind of like snow, it will trick your camera sensor to think that things are brighter than they actually are. I usually overexpose what the camera’s meter is reading by a stop or two! Check your display and adjust until you’re happy with what you’re seeing. Brighter fog just looks better than dark fog.
There’s another detail that should be mentioned, but it isn’t really a ‘tip’. Get out early!
Fog is usually an early morning thing. Most fog will burn off by 9:00 or 10:00 AM = so get out there!
One final word about safety. If you’re out photographing something that moves – like these street cars; pay attention to your surroundings. Things can be on top of you before you ever see them, so stay safe!
If you have any questions about this article or about how to best set your camera, add a comment or feel free to contact me.
Thanks for visiting!
One final image.