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Photographing In Foggy Conditions

Techniques > Photographing In Foggy Conditions

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Category: Landscape and Travel

Fog And Mist Landscapes - Mist and fog can add an extra interesting twist to our images. Here's how.

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When you leave the house for your commute to work and notice that t-shirts and jackets are slowly getting replaced with coats and brollys you know the cold, wet weather of winter's definitely on the way. This may dampen our journeys a little and leave some of us feeling a little miserable but on the upside, we do have the golden shades of Autumn starting to appear and there's also early morning mist/fog we can use to add an extra environmental twist to our imagery.

Fog in woods
Photo by David Clapp

Gear Suggestions: 

Leave your flash at home and pack your tripod so your camera has a steady support for the long exposures you'll be using. If you try taking your flash people will look at your image and wonder what exactly you went out to photograph as all you'll have is fog in your scene.

A polariser can be handy for pulling out the greens and blues in your shot but if it's a particularly foggy day fitting one of these won't make a bit of difference as not much sunlight can get through. The final problem you'll have is fog/mist is moisture in the air which will leave drops of water on your lens and it's not particularly good for the rest of your camera either, unless it's splashproof of course like the OM-D E-M1 is. Take a lint-free cloth along to clean your lens and when you're not using your camera make sure you put it away in your bag to stop it getting wet.


When and if mist/fog appears is governed by air currents, temperature and the density of droplets suspended in the air which does mean you can get it at any time of the year. However, during the Autumn months the temperature difference from night to day is more extreme, giving you more chance to capture a foggy scape. Fog begins to form in the evening and lingers until the following morning so getting yourself out from under the duvet early is a must.

High rides and cliff tops are a perfect place to head to as they give you great vantage points over valleys which hold the mist/fog like a bowl or try to get in among it to add a touch of mysticism or eeriness to your photograph. This works particularly well in thick wooded areas but as the fog acts like a soft box and can lower the contrast of your surroundings, you can end up with rather long exposure times so have your tripod to hand and make sure you're wrapped up warm to fight off the morning chill that can blow in. Your camera may also struggle with exposure as they do in the snow where they see bright areas in both the ground and sky so you'll have to use + exposure compensation to rectify this.

Long shots where objects begin to vanish or appear silhouetted can look fantastic but don't forget about adding some foreground interest too. Objects close to you will have plenty of colour and appear sharp which contrasts well against the vanishing vista behind. Closer to home, light sources such as street lights can photograph really well in the right conditions. For the light beam to become visible you have to have the right sort of fog thickness which can mean it's a bit of a game of luck but if you do get the right conditions, you can end up with a street shot that looks like you've plucked it straight out of a thriller.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 - The whole package. In a perfectly-sized package. Click here for more information on the most advanced compact system camera ever produced. The E-M1 comes packed with technologies such as the enhanced Live MOS sensor, TruePic VII image processor, Dual Fast AF and extended WIFI controls. 

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