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My route to work takes me across moss land and when we have mild weather followed by a cold night there is normally a ground mist, sometimes so thick it is like dry ice flowing over the fields and road. It is a single track road and there is only 1 place where it is possible to stop to take photographs, so more often than not there is no chance to get a shot.
Last year, the conditions were perfect. Right where the stopping place is, the mist was flowing nicely and was being backlit by the rising sun. The sky at the horizon was crimson, above it was a selection of clouds coloured various shades of pink, wonderful.
I got the shot and only arrived about 10 minutes late at work, happy. When I got home I immediately loaded the photos onto my PC and was totally disappointed to see that, though the shot was generally okay as a sunrise shot, there was hardly any sign of the mist. In fact it looked more like my lens had misted up.
This morning the conditions were very similar, just not anywhere I could stop to photograph them. But it got me thinking a couple of things. First, what did I do wrong in my shot and second what photographic visions have people had that they have failed to capture. I'm not talking about general photographic ability, but that one shot you would love to get and have never managed to do it justice.
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Welcome to my world mate. I have that with every shot I take.
The only thing I can think of is, was there separation in the foreground between you and the mist?
The bulk of mist was about 10 feet in front of me, but there was some mist around me (it was everywhere).
You know that aint true Bri.
The shot appeared correctly exposed K, nothing burned out. If anything, the mist was a little under. Now that I have Lightroom maybe I'll play around with some grads.
Anyway, how about some others. What particular shot do you have in your minds to which you have so far not managed to do justice?
Quote: The only thing I can think of is, was there separation in the foreground between you and the mist?
To the main blanket yes, to the mist in general probably not. What's the reason for the question Jules?
K - you deleted your comment! Now my answer looks strange.
I can only think that you need more separation. You say that the mist was 10ft away from you, but there was some near you. The camera sensor will see much more the you, and just maybe the lens was misted up and you couldn't see it. I had that problem in the very hot and clammy water lily house in Kew once. I that that the lens was clear and snapped away, but several of the shots were distinctly soft.
I've been snapping for more than 40 years and like you I often see "magic" shots when I'm driving, but they never quite work. I think our perception plays tricks with us. When we have necessarily brief flashes of an image our brain takes the information and completes the picture. So sadly the shot may not be there, or maybe like me you're..... Choose from the following list - Pure dead brilliant, absolutely pants
Cheers Alan. I know the lens wasn't misted up but maybe separation is the key. Possibly because it was a little misty near where I was standing it effected the way the light behaved.
I find that it is very hard to keep the feel of the mist in a shot and the early morning is always a real dog to get it right. If it is over exposed (for a dark foreground) I find you lose easily the mist, probably in part because longer shutter times means the mist becomes an amorphous 'haze' while it drits around (think 'long exposures and milky water') and I lose the the 'patchy lighting' that makes mist evident. But if it is underexposed I lose the faint 'highlights' that show you have mist. And if you are shooting into the rising sun, the mist will scatter the light and you may start to get a white blanket rather than a feel of drifting mist.
So I would say underexpose by half a stop and take it from there. Have you tried bracketing exposures to see what does work?
It's difficult without seeing the images Ian. Have you tried lowering the contrast in Lightroom. Also don't add any clarity or sharpening.
I was standing on the top of Pen y Fan back in October, watching the morning mist swirl around Brecon to the north, and it hardly shows up at all on the photos. But then, you have Photoshop, right ?
Quote: Have you tried bracketing exposures to see what does work?
Quote: Have you tried lowering the contrast in Lightroom. Also don't add any clarity or sharpening.
I've only just got Lightroom Nick, when I get chance I will dig out those shots and see if I can make anything of them.
Quote: But then, you have Photoshop, right ?
I can't find the right colour for the fill though Bri.
A little off topic but kind of related have a look at this.
I'd think its a dynamic range issue, you eye can see the mist but your eye is better than your sensor. The separation issue mentioned could be achieved if the rising sun was catching the mist to lift its brightness above the darker vegetation.
Also many good mist shots are taken when you yourself are out the mist - again adding to the separation of the clear air and the mist areas.
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