Archive for the ‘fog’ Tag

Single-image Sunday: Lifting Fog   6 comments

Fog lifts over the southern California coast ranges.

Fog lifts over the southern California coast ranges.

No Friday Foto Talk this week, sorry ’bout that.  I needed a little break.  Instead I’ll post an image from where I camped for several nights waiting for my vehicle to be worked on.  It’s in southern California, but inland from the coast in a southern extension of the San Bernadino Mountains.  It was cool up there, especially toward morning when the bright stars disappeared and dense fog rolled in just before sunrise.  It was a very consistent weather pattern.

A short time after the sun was up the fog would lift and begin to burn off.  This let in those beautiful beams of light called crepuscular rays, which illuminated the valley below.  Besides me the only others appreciating the show were the birds plus a few cows.  Much of the native vegetation above the valley floor is dry and brittle, with a golden hue reminiscent of fall.  California remains in a serious drought.

The shot is one of several that were difficult to choose from.  Together they show a progression of the fog lifting, from fairly dense fog to brilliant pale blue skies with clouds.  They were taken on different days but the weather conditions were virtually identical so they seem as if they were all from one morning.  This one captures the middle part of the process.

Thanks for looking!

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Friday Foto Talk: Shoot in Any Weather   19 comments

A blustery cold winter morning at Joshua Tree National Park, California gave me the opportunity to shoot something I’ve always loved to see: spindrift in bright sunlight.

Occasionally I see someone post on Facebook or mention elsewhere that they are anxious for the weather to cooperate so that they can get out with their cameras.  They’ll say they are inside playing in Photoshop because the weather is keeping them from shooting, or that they’re looking forward to getting out when the weather finally improves this weekend.

The message for this post is very simple.  Quit making excuses and get out there!  Short of hurricanes, tornados, and other dangerous situations, there is really no weather that you can’t handle with clothing and gear.  Check out my series on winter photography for tips on how to protect yourself and your gear.

It’s springtime now in the northern hemisphere, and that means quickly changing weather.  So why not go out to see what happens?  Maybe it will clear up just before sunset, rewarding you for your persistence.  But even if it stays weathery (or even gets worse), don’t worry!  The most important thing to remember is that there’s really no kind of weather that doesn’t offer at least a few good photographic possibilities.  Here are some examples:

The Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee.

The Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee.  It was raining pretty heavily but I walked to a high lookout anyway, just in case.  Grain added during processing.

  • Rainy & Foggy.  Especially when paired with fog or low clouds hugging hillsides, rainy weather can be the perfect time to shoot mood-filled landscapes.  And if it suddenly clears, hello rainbow!  Rain also offers good people shooting.  With typically bright raincoats and umbrellas, the flat light of cloud-cover can really bring out those colors.  Rainy conditions can also favor flowers and other small colorful close-ups.  Droplets on flowers and other vegetation look great in macro photos.

 

When you're in a Costa rican cloud forest, and it's raining, these are the kinds of shots that jump out.

When you’re in a Costa Rican cloud forest and it’s raining, these are the kinds of images that jump out.

One recent morning I woke to clouds and a missing sunrise, but this fog made it well worth shooting anyway. Toning added during processing.

One recent morning I woke to clouds and a missing sunrise, but this fog made it well worth shooting anyway. Toning added during processing.

  • Snowy & Cold.  New-fallen snow glistens like an older snow-cover never does.  And when the wind starts playing with snow magical things tend to happen (as in the image at top).  It can certainly be a challenge to deal with the contrasts of a snowy scene.  All that white, when it fills most of the viewfinder, demands that you are careful with exposure (your camera’s light meter is ‘fooled’ into underexposing).  The cold air of winter offers a clarity that can give your landscapes a sense of depth, and make your backgrounds stand out better.
The drive out to this spot in an ice storm was not fun but how else are you going to see and shoot unique light like this? Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.

The drive out to this spot during an ice storm was a little sketchy, but how else are you going to see and shoot unique skies and light like this? Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.

  • Windy.  I’ve been shooting in some wind in the desert lately and have posted a few of those.  The nice part about wind is that it will pick up sand and other loose materials and blow them around, creating moody effects.  Of course windy conditions present some challenges.  You need to think about camera stability; decide if a tripod is better than being buffeted while you’re holding the camera.  As long as you weight it down by hanging a heavy bag from the center post, a tripod will work well in wind when exposures are too long for hand-held shots.  And don’t try to change lenses out in the wind, unless you don’t want to have your camera’s sensor & interior cleaned afterward.
Owen's Valley, California in a sandstorm.

Owen’s Valley, California in a sandstorm.

  • Clear Blue Skies.  This is the bane of every landscape photographer.  It means the sun’s light isn’t really filtered and reflected while it’s still in the sky, before it gets to your subject.  Thus most photographers think the light is poor in times of clear weather.  While it’s easier to get a great landscape image when there are clouds in the sky, that doesn’t mean great shots aren’t possible.  Subjects have to be unusually strong when under bluebird skies, and there is a tight window to shoot in when the sun is very near the horizon.
Mount Rainier and its famous subalpine flower meadows under soars into the clear blue near sunset.

Mount Rainier and its famous subalpine flower meadows under soars into the clear blue near sunset.

  • More Clear Days:  Clear skies are also decent times to shoot close-ups and macros.  A portable diffusing panel helps out, or you can shoot when the sun is very low.  For similar reasons people pictures can turn out very nice in clear sunny weather.  You need to find shade or again shoot when the sun is low.  Placing your subjects at the edge of the shade and near broad reflective ground surfaces helps to give beautiful illumination backed by darker backgrounds.
I photographed this particularly striking food vendor at Angkor Wat, Cambodia in shade but adjacent to a brightly lit square.

I photographed this particularly striking food vendor at Angkor Wat, Cambodia in shade but adjacent to a brightly lit square.

  •  And Clear Nights:  When it’s clear, some subjects (architecture being a great example) look very good at the so-called blue hour.  That’s well after sunset but before it gets dark and the sky loses all of its blue color.  If you want to shoot a star-filled sky, clear and moonless is the time to do it.  I actually like a partial moon to help illuminate the subject or foreground.  I also like some clouds in my starscapes and don’t care too much about the Milky Way.  But I’m in the minority there.
A crescent moon was setting as I captured this image at Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado.

A crescent moon was setting as I captured this image at Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado.

I think you can see that almost any conceivable weather is good for photography.  The trick is to think about all the types of pictures you may want, not just the one or two that you happen to desire at a given time.  If you have this mindset, then no matter what the weather you’re likely to find just the right kinds of pictures to shoot.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Just before sunset the clouds started breaking and voila! Columbia Gorge, Oregon.

Just before sunset the clouds started breaking and voila! Columbia Gorge, Oregon.

Single-image Sunday: Colorado National Monument   6 comments

This is the first time I’ve visited this part of Colorado.  I’ve passed through before but never drove up the amazingly twisted and steep road into the national monument named I think more for the plateau and river than for the state.  The Colorado River flows through the Grand Valley, which is fog-covered in this shot.  The monument is a beautiful collection of canyons and rock formations spilling off a mesa that is part of the much larger Colorado Plateau.

Fog-filled Monument Canyon, Colorado N.M., Colorado.

Fog-filled Monument Canyon, Colorado N.M., Colorado.

It’s very near the Utah border, and here you are in terrain that is much less about the Rocky Mountains and more like the red-rock canyon country of the desert southwest.  There are plenty of great canyon hikes, and the mountain biking in adjacent lands is world class (google Fruita Colorado mountain biking).  Driving west through the Grand Valley and into the town of Grand Junction you are leaving the Rockies and entering the Colorado Plateau.  The river goes from more of a swift river of mountains to one that cuts through spectacular sandstone canyons.

Waking the first morning to fog in the canyon bottoms and lowlands, the sun didn’t show its face until the middle of the morning.  But I still had a grand time shooting the rock formations, wreathed in fog, for which this National Monument is known.  The spire front and center in the photo is called the ‘kissing couple’.  The view is southward down Monument Canyon and into the east-west running Grand Valley.

Hope you’re enjoying your weekend.  Friday Foto Talk, by the way, is on a bit of a hiatus.  It’ll be back, promise.

Single-image Sunday: Fog and Fall Color   4 comments

Cottonwoods dressed for autumn peek out of a fog bank along the upper Colorado River in northern Colorado.

Cottonwoods dressed for autumn peek out of a fog bank along the upper Colorado River in northern Colorado.

Photographing fall color is never quite as easy as it seems.  It’s so easy to get excited about the vibrant trees, especially when they first turn.   I often find myself pointing the camera wherever the trees are, forgetting about finding interesting compositions and light.  And I know I’m not alone in that.  But after a bit of the enthusiasm wears off, it’s easier to settle down and shoot properly.

This morning in north-central Colorado was pretty dull.  The light at sunrise was not cutting it, and then the sun rose bright and harsh.  Although elevations are high in this area south of Steamboat Springs, there are no sharp rugged peaks.  But the area is spectacular in its own way.  The Colorado River, still fairly modest in size this close to the headwaters, winds through farmland and then plunges into Gore Canyon.

Gore Canyon was one of the major obstacles to a trans-continental railroad.  An early Denver railroad magnate named David Moffat dreamed of building tracks through and over the Rocky Mountains to tap the mining and cattle trade.  But it took a crew of death-defying men, called Argo’s Squirrels (J.J. Argo was crew leader) to complete it.

To survey the route through Gore Canyon, considered unnavigable at the time, the Squirrels came up with a plan.  Some of the crew floated logs down the river while others lowered themselves by rope down the vertical granite walls to river level.  Once there, they drove steel pegs into the rock, then caught and attached the logs to the pegs by rope, forming a precarious scaffolding.

This way the crew had a walkway, just above the raging whitewater, from which to survey the route.  Old pictures show the Squirrels seemingly at ease on the spindly logs a few feet from certain death by drowning.  They wore no life jackets, but amazingly no lives were lost.  It’s also interesting that most of the men were immigrants.

Nowadays Gore Canyon is famous among rafters and kayakers for being one of the roughest sections of whitewater in the country.  Gore Rapid is a solid Class V.  You can do a commercially-guided raft trip through the canyon, but you better be ready.  It’s considered by many to be the wildest whitewater accessible by guided trip in the U.S.  A much calmer way to see the roadless and remote canyon is to take the California Zephyr, a scenic train trip over the Rockies and on to the west coast.

Back to the picture:  I had stopped to make coffee, at a place that overlooks the river valley just upstream from Gore Canyon.  The sun was busy burning off a bank of ground fog that had collected overnight along the river.  Cold fall mornings that give way to warm sunny afternoons are perfect for this kind of fog.  I could see cottonwoods along the river, in full color, just peeking out of the fog bank.  I was some distance from the river, so I got my long lens out and zoomed in on groups of the golden trees as they emerged from the fog.

I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse of a remote but interesting corner of Colorado.  Have a great week!

Single-Image Sunday: Fog over the Trees   11 comments

Subalpine firs filter fog atop Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington

Subalpine firs filter fog atop Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington

I missed Friday Foto Talk, out camping.  The conclusion to my series on tripods will post this coming Friday.  In the meantime, here’s an image from a great time I had last week in Olympic National Park.  It was taken hand-held, no tripod.

An unusual display of fog and weather greeted me when I arrived on top of Hurricane Ridge on Washington’s northern Olympic Peninsula.  It had rained the previous couple days, though not hard, and a transition to drier weather was taking place.  The fog and low clouds that had formed over the coast of the Strait of Juan de Fuca started rising and dissipating as the air cooled toward sunset.

The stately subalpine firs that dominate the forest near tree-line on Hurricane Ridge not only were filtering the fog as it rose up the steep slopes, they seemed to be adding their own moisture (via transpiration) to the mix too.  The result was really beautiful as viewed through the low rays of the sun to the west.

As I hiked to the top of Hurricane Hill, the quick-moving fog several times enveloped me, causing me to stop and look around in wonder at the dreamy atmosphere.  I’ll post some more shots in a future post.  I was distracted so many times I barely made it to the top for sunset.  It was a memorable evening.

Wordless Wednesday: Foggy Morn   Leave a comment

Happy Halloween!   14 comments

There are plenty of opportunities in Oregon to capture fog in all its variations.

There are plenty of opportunities in Oregon to capture fog in all its variations.

Tomorrow is Halloween, a holiday I’ve always been of two minds on.  On one hand, I’ve had many fun Halloweens.  We used to decorate the basement in the house I grew up in, and on a couple occasions I remember parties down there with all my friends from school and the neighborhood.  We would run around all amped up on sugar, bobbing for apples and playing pranks.  The evening was capped off by sitting on the cement walls bordering the backyard, that huge oak tree forming a black silhouette in the center, telling ghost stories.

On the other hand, since reaching adulthood, I haven’t really taken to the holiday like when I was a kid.  To me, it is a holiday for children, and never has had the enduring spirit of Christmas.  It seems a little ridiculous how excited some adults get.  I’ve even cynically thought of it as simply an excuse to get drunk at Halloween parties.  Am I too much the curmudgeon?  Probably, haha!  Anyway, here are a few shots I managed to find with a more or less spooky mood to them.

Happy Halloween!

A termite tower in Botswana's Okavango Delta takes on a sinister aspect next to an equally spooky looking acacia tree.

A termite tower in Botswana’s Okavango Delta takes on a sinister aspect next to an equally spooky looking acacia tree.

The streets at night in Campeche, a colonial town in Mexico, are very atmospheric.

The streets at night in Campeche, a colonial town in Mexico, are very atmospheric.

 

More good old Oregon fog.  I don't think this shot is that scary looking.  The light was rather magical but not scary.

More good old Oregon fog. I don’t think this shot is that scary looking. The light was rather magical but not scary.

Mayan temples, such as this one at Tikal, Guatemala, don't necessarily look scary.  That is, until you realize what happened  just inside that small doorway - human sacrifice!

Mayan temples, such as this one at Tikal, Guatemala, don’t necessarily look scary. That is, until you realize what happened just inside that small doorway – human sacrifice!

Near dark deep in a Columbia River Gorge side-canyon, fog and water combine to create a ghostly aparition.

Near dark deep in a Columbia River Gorge side-canyon, fog and water combine to create a ghostly aparition.

The only shot like this I got in Africa, these scavenging Maribou storks are perched above an elephant carcass at sunset.  Don't worry, the elephant was not the victim of poachers in this case.

The only shot like this I got in Africa, these scavenging marabou storks are perched above an elephant carcass at sunset. Don’t worry, the elephant was not the victim of poachers in this case.

Single-image Sunday: Danum Valley Magic   16 comments

Danum Valley, Borneo

Danum Valley, Borneo

I am posting this image because I need to post something.  I just completed a big post for this week’s Foto Talk.  It involved a lot of thought and about 6 hours of work.  You will never see it now and I won’t ever see it again either.  That’s because I thought it had been saved as a draft by WordPress but it was not.  Learn from my mistake and never ever trust WordPress to save any of your work online, no matter how many times it has worked correctly for you before.

I am going to figure out now how to do posts offline, separate from WordPress, and import them into the blog and have them look the way I want.  I tried this in the beginning and it was difficult to get the posts to look right.  But now I find it is necessary to really learn this before doing any more blogging.  All it takes is once to waste hours of work and have it come to nothing for you to commit to doing things differently.  So never trust WordPress to save drafts, never.

By the way this is a shot from several years ago when I visited the island of Borneo.  It was really a fantastic experience, and I’d really like to go back and dive back into that amazing  jungle, however much I hate leeches!  Have a great week everyone.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Misty   20 comments

After checking out Ailsa’s weekly photo challenge and finding it was Misty this week, I couldn’t resist!  Most of these are from the archive but are fairly recent images.  A couple are very recent, taken with my point and shoot.  Please note these are copyright-protected and not available for free download without my permission.  Click on the image to go to the main gallery page, and please contact me if you have any questions.  Thanks for looking and enjoy!

In spring, the forests of the western Cascade Range in the Pacific Northwest receive regular infusions of misty rain and fog.

In spring, the forests of the western Cascade Range in the Pacific Northwest receive regular infusions of misty rain and fog.

A fisherman tries his luck at Lost Lake in the dawn mist.

A fisherman tries his luck at Lost Lake in the dawn mist.

Mount Rainier emerges one foggy early morning at Reflection Lakes.

Mount Rainier emerges one foggy early morning at Reflection Lakes.

Narada Falls at nightfall, Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington.

Narada Falls at nightfall, Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington.

Mist over Lost Lake, Oregon.

Mist over Lost Lake, Oregon.

Fog and mist are typical when venturing into the evergreen forests of the Pacific Northwest in winter.

Fog and mist are typical when venturing into the evergreen forests of the Pacific Northwest in winter.

On the Olympic Coast in Washington, mist and fog are common.

On the Olympic Coast in Washington, mist and fog are common.

Dark and mysterious:  Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.

Dark and mysterious: Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.

Mist and fog hang about the temples and pyramids of Tikal in Guatemala.

Mist and fog hang about the temples and pyramids of Tikal in Guatemala.

When waterfalls are in spring flood, mist fills the air, like here at Wahclella Falls in Oregon.

When waterfalls are in spring flood, mist fills the air, like here at Wahclella Falls in Oregon.

The rugged coastlline at Big Sur, California.

The rugged coastlline at Big Sur, California.

The thermal areas of Yellowstone on cold mornings are comparatively warm, misty magnets for buffalo.

The thermal areas of Yellowstone on cold mornings are comparatively warm, misty magnets for buffalo.

As the dawn mist begins lifting, a pond in the Montana high country begs to be fished.

As the dawn mist begins lifting, a pond in the Montana high country begs to be fished.

 

Sun vs. fog in a redwood forest, northern California.

Sun vs. fog in a redwood forest, northern California.

At sunset, mist and fog fill Oregon's Columbia River Gorge behind Vista House.

At sunset, mist and fog fill Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge behind Vista House.

 

 

 

 

Monochrome Monday: Foggy Mornings   4 comments

A barge on the Columbia River waits for heavy fog to lift before continuing down the river past Portland, Oregon.

A barge on the Columbia River waits for heavy fog to lift before continuing down the river past Portland, Oregon.

I’ve been back home about a week and a half and have not been shooting much.  But I got out the other morning to see what the fog presented in the Columbia River Gorge.  Since I didn’t do my usual Sunday post (blame football), here’s a rare Monday offering.  Fog is just made for black and white!

Though some of these images do work well in color as well (the barge shot especially), I decided to convert them to monochrome to highlight the mood.  They are copyrighted and not available for free download, sorry.  If you are interested in any of them just click to go to the main gallery section of my website.  If you don’t find what you’re looking for, please contact me with any requests and I can help you personally.  Thanks for your interest.

Fishing for winter steelhead is a popular reason to visit the Sandy River near Portland, Oregon.

Fishing for winter steelhead is a popular reason to visit the Sandy River near Portland, Oregon.

Fog shrouds the Sandy River Delta natural area along the Columbia River in Oregon.

Fog shrouds the Sandy River Delta natural area along the Columbia River in Oregon.

The lower Columbia River Gorge is near home, so it was easy to get up early enough.  The fog was heavy in town so I expected it to be shrouding the Gorge as well.  But I soon broke out of the fog into windy & crystal clear air just after sunrise.

Then I saw the barge (top image).  Normally I wait for these to clear out before getting my shot.  But this time I saw a photo where the barge was heading into the fog bank covering the lower river.  I was in a hurry to park and set up, but I didn’t need to.  The barge just stayed there.  I realized he was waiting for the fog to burn off before continuing.  With the heavy ship traffic on the Columbia this suddenly made perfect sense.

After the sun rose a bit and light got harsher, I retreated back to the fog.  I took a short walk on the Sandy River Delta, which is just off the interstate as you exit the Gorge going west.  It’s a popular place for people to go run their dogs.  It also is a very large area, and flat as a pancake.  The shot with the single tree and the fog is from here.

Fog and wintertime set a mood along the Sandy River in northwestern Oregon.

Fog and wintertime set a mood along the Sandy River in northwestern Oregon.

I drove a short distance up the Sandy River on the old historic highway.  Winter steelhead are the main draw this time of year on the Sandy, so the only people I saw had fishing poles in their hands.  I’ve been wanting a foggy shot of the Sandy for quite some time, and I think I got a good one (above).  What do you think?

I finished up shooting a small waterfall.  When you drive up the Sandy, you skirt a steep escarpment made up of the lava gravels of the Troutdale Formation.  In the wet season many waterfalls plunge off this cliff.  Since the Gorge’s famous falls are nearby, these get short shrift.  A beautiful little falls.  Thanks for reading and have a great week!

A small waterfall along the Sandy River, Oregon.

A small waterfall along the Sandy River, Oregon.

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