Winter can get odd here on the Plains. Right now we have no snow, temperatures in the 40′s (it is still January!) and tonight, fog that would make London envious. I’m sure there’s a perfectly plausible meteorological reason for it but that doesn’t matter to me. For a photographer fog is a great light modifier that gives lots of opportunities for cool effects. It also attenuates the lights on the ground that make clouds light up, so a foggy night gets really dark! And with long exposures you really don’t know what the final image will be until you finish it.
Here’s a pavilion in a local park with the lights on inside. I like how the long exposure brought out the blue in the sky and how the fog scattered the light around the building. The foreground is being lit by a streetlight that was behind me.
Here I wanted the wet road to reflect and create a leading line to the foggy lights. I increased the structure of the road and decreased the contrast around the lights in order to enhance the sense of walking into the fog and losing details of your surroundings. The sodium vapor lamps in the street lights made everything in the image a reddish-orange color so I converted it to B&W to avoid that distraction.
This is my favorite. Driving through the intersection I noticed the stop lights were beaming out into the fog like spotlights. We don’t notice the fresnel lenses in stoplights but they are there in order to let the light project in a narrower beam; the lens shows up as concentric circles in the stoplight glass. In the fog this spotlight beam effect is visible. During one long exposure I was able to capture the light cycling through all three colors as well as a passing car behind.
All lighting presents an opportunity to learn how your camera ‘sees’ so don’t pass up any interesting versions that come your way.