Sunday, January 22, 2017


As an amateur, I always look forward to foggy days for landscape photography.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  First, fog provides depth by fading more distant objects.  Second, fog can essentially eliminate background distractions.  This Saturday dawned in dense fog, so I grabbed my camera and headed for Virmond Park, a municipal park located on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan.

For the record, I took around 90 shots in 1-1/2 hours, retaining about 15 of them.  I probably spent more time in post processing than in shooting--all pretty standard for my work style.  Following is what I got.

First, is a black & white shot of one of my favorite trees in the park, a small evergreen that stands isolated in an open field.

Here are two more shots of the same tree that arguably offer a bit more compositional interest.  The first places the tree further off to the side and incorporates the park road.

The second is something of a novelty shot.

To incorporate the foreground tree, I needed to position the camera just a couple of feet off the ground.  My one regret with this shot is the metal stake just to the left of the trunk of the foreground tree.  I'm sure there would be a way to eliminate this in Photoshop, but it's too much work for me.

Note that these two shots incorporate different white balances.  Partly that is due to changes in the ambient light during the time I was shooting; partly it is due to post processing choices.

The following shots of a stand of woods in the park illustrate the compositional depth that fog can create.

These shots are all cropped.  When I took them I felt that I needed to "ground" the images by including the floor of the woods in the shots.  There were two problems with this that led me to crop out the floor.  First, the floor, consisting of dead leaves, grass, and weeds, was a much different color than the tree trunks, which have a monochromatic feel without resorting to black & white.  I felt that that this difference in color distracted from the mood I was trying to convey.  Second, my focus was on the trunks, particularly the "stubs" of branches on some of the trees.  I thought that the ground clutter would take away from that focus.

Here is another broader shot of a different stand of trees.

Here I wanted to focus on the tree in the center left background.  In this case, I did not crop out as much of the grass, as the difference in color did not seem as distracting.

I also spent some time shooting a curving rail fence bordering a side road in the park.  I have shot this fence a number of times in the past, but I thought the dense fog in this shoot helped to create more of an uncluttered focus.

These I converted to black & whites to emphasize the grain of the rails and to eliminate the distraction that the greenish grass was creating.  In the first two shots I chose to shoot through the foreground rails in an attempt to create some novelty.  In the third shot I focused on the knot in the top of the rail just to the right of the post.

Finally, I am including a couple of photos of fallen leaves in the grass bordering the fence that, while not involving the fog, did, I feel, offer interesting compositions.

We seldom experience fog this dense in this part of southeastern Wisconsin, perhaps a couple of times a year.  So I was happy that I was able to take advantage of this opportunity.