Images captured with fog look mystical, outer-worldly and mirage-like. A sense of mystery and weightlessness prevails, making the surroundings look ethereal. If done right, fog adds a melancholic or dreamy atmospheric feel to your images. Otherwise, it is quite likely that they will end up blurry or washed out. Photographing under foggy conditions comes with several challenges. To help capture stunning photographs of landscape swaddled in fog, we have put together a quick and easy guide to help you.
Understand the lighting
In fog, the water droplets suspended in the air act as natural softboxes. This results in a soft and diffused light which can be great for shooting portraits. The presence of fog can also mean that there is less light in the surroundings. This means you have to set a longer exposure time. You need to be careful though. Exposure longer than, say, one second can result in blurry fog, owing to the fact that it is always in motion. Hence, shoot your images with a tripod. If you are shooting hand held, then bump up the ISO. Fog can also fool your camera’s meter into thinking there is more light, resulting in underexposed and grey images. Hence, it is recommended to add exposure compensation (up to +1 or +2) to your images in strongly backlit scenes.
Create a sense of depth
Fog images often lack contrast making them appear flat and dimensionless. Hence incorporate layers to introduce diversity in tones. This way, objects closer to the camera will have more colour and contrast and everything farther away will look faded and isolated. This intensifies the surreal feeling that fog creates.
Shoot images from a high point
Images looking over foggy landscapes can have a stunning effect. Try and get up as high as possible and shoot from a vantage point. Watch out for the weather forecast and time your arrival at a mountaintop or the terrace of a tall building to shoot spectacular fog images. You can either shoot images looking down at the fog or objects such as buildings, trees and mountains rising above the veil of fog.
Use Negative space
Try incorporated a large amount of empty space in your composition. This intensifies the focus on the subject and creates a very dramatic shot. The presence of fog can further isolate the subject, intensifying its impact on the audience. It also makes for a clean and decluttered photograph.
The next time there is fog, be sure to chase it and use these handy tips to capture stunning images.