Merry old England

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.

ISO 100, 27mm, 15 sec., f/5

ISO 100, 27mm, 15 sec., f/5

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.

ISO 100, 14mm, 8 sec., f/8

ISO 100, 14mm, 8 sec., f/8

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.

ISO 100, 33mm, 8 sec., f/8

ISO 100, 33mm, 8 sec., f/8

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.



4 thoughts on “Merry old England

  1. I really like the way in which you have taken a simple idea (the effects of fog on light transmission) and illustrated it beautifully and artistically in three different ways. The last photo is definitely the coolest of the group, although I think I like the first one most, primarily because of the composition of the scene.


    • Thanks, Mike. What I’ve developed is a willingness to pull to the side of the road when I see something interesting, pull out my camera, and compose an image. Earlier in life I would just comment to myself how cool something looked but not take action; now I realize these fleeting moments require my attention. Many times I have more interesting images from doing that than the times I go out on photo-safari!


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