Saturday, October 12, 2013

FOG AT SUNRISE: VIRMOND PARK

With the advancing fall season, sunrise is arriving later and later and is now occurring well after 7 am.  I get up way before that time.  The other morning when I went for coffee, there was a thick fog and I decided to grab my camera.  The first shot I took was of a grocery store parking lot, not the most photogenic of locales, but I liked the way the lights were illuminating the fog.


As I've indicated before, fog provides some real advantages for landscape photography.  The fact that the fog appears denser with distance provides some palpable depth to scenes that might otherwise seem flat.  In addition, it can serve to hide or at least minimize a number of background distractions, focusing attention on the primary subject of the photo.  So after rooting around in the parking lot for a few minutes, I drove over to Virmond Park to get some more fog shots before sunrise.

I have a favorite tree in the park that I have shot any number of times.


The tree, which stands only about 20 feet high, is nicely formed, and sits in the middle of a large open area, allowing focus to remain on it.  Here the fog helped to reveal the distance between the tree and other trees and shrubbery close to the edge of the bluff overlooking Lake Michigan.  The fog ensured also that the tree would not get "lost" among the other foliage.  I have taken this shot many of times, positioning the tree on the right and allowing the taller trees in the left background to provide balance to the composition.  This time I also took a shot positioning the tree on the left.


This also worked well, I thought, in fact, perhaps better than the previous shot.  In this case, the fog really helped to separate foreground from background.

Subconsciously, perhaps, waiting for the sunrise, I took a few closeup shots of the park's abundant thistle population.


Even though this shot was backlit by the brightening sky, I thought it helped to lighten up the thistle to the point that its distinctive violet color was evident.  This was taken at f/6.3 for 1/50 second.  I had plenty of aperture to completely blur out the background, and of course the fog helped.  However, there is just enough color to indicate that there is some sort of landscape in the background--green grass, dark foliage, lighter sky.  I thought it was important to include the thistle's leaves to provide more balance.  The shutter speed should have been enough to quiet down any camera shake, but there is a little "softness" in the resolution--a breeze maybe.

Here is another thistle shot that I kept as a silhouette.  I think of this as three adults and a child.


This also was shot at f/6.3, but the shutter speed was 1/100 second, and the resolution is much sharper.

I noticed a nice spiderweb that was being lit by the morning sky.  Unfortunately, a breeze had sprung up and was moving the web back and forth.  This was the best of the shots that I got.


It was about this time that the sun decided to make its appearance above the horizon, and when I first looked at this shot I thought perhaps I had captured the sun as well as the web--a pretty neat shot.  However, on reflection, I believe the red circle is just a lens flare resulting from the very beginnings of the sun's appearance.  I say this because I realized at this point that I might have a shot that featured the sunrise in connection with "my" tree.  So here is one of the sun a few moments later when it had just cleared the horizon.


Note that the sun's appearance is oblate, not spherical.  That's why I am sure that the web shot above is not of the sun itself.  Still cool, though.

Here is a final, closer shot I took of the sun under the tree.


This was taken at f/9 for 1/200 second, in an attempt to keep both the sun and the tree in reasonable focus.  I underexposed the shot 2/3 of an f-stop from what my camera's light meter called for.  I'm pretty happy with it, all in all.

John

1 comment:

  1. I have never seen more beautiful pictures of the early morning fog. The one of the sun rising through the spider web is my favorite.

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