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Author Topic: Any tips for dealing with fog?  (Read 4947 times)

Michael Moore

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Any tips for dealing with fog?
« on: September 04, 2013, 01:20:36 PM »

Here at the beach in San Francisco it isn't uncommon to have the fog be heavy enough that the sun is not seen for a week or two.  This is usually not an artistic fog with tendrils moving through the redwoods but rather a solid monochromatic mass.

I like living in the fog but it doesn't seem so great for photography.  While the indirect light is nice, there's no sense getting up at the crack of dawn to get "the light" because there isn't any.  

Here's an example I took a few days ago of an intrepid photographer and model risking death above the cliffs at Lands End to "get the shot":   :o

http://www.eurospares.com/graphics/photography/Danger_7246.jpg

Does anyone have any tips for fog like this?

I'm still in learning mode with PS-E but might this be a case for a layer mask with a duplicate layer where everything has been blue-shifted and then all but the sky gets masked out? I've tried deleting the foggy sky and sticking something a bit bluer in its place but that can prove a lot of work when I get a halo between the new sky and everything else.  I am working with RAW files.

Should I consider converting from color to B&W (though that would eliminate the splash of color that stands out against the fog)?  Does PS have a magic "fix sky" button buried in a submenu somewhere?  Do I need a polarizing lens or other filter?

cheers,
Michael

« Last Edit: September 04, 2013, 01:25:39 PM by Michael Moore »
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louoates

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Re: Any tips for dealing with fog?
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2013, 01:40:44 PM »

Your biggest hurdle is to rid yourself of the "magic light" requirement. Since you posted this in the beginner section I'm assuming you are fairly recent to photography. All limits on you regarding camera equipment, lighting situations, classic scene selections, etc. are choking you before you even start. Here are some basics: Walk around. Carry a camera. Observe everything near and far. Let your mind wander and wonder. Shoot what YOU think is interesting. Light is a gift not a restriction. Your first photograph of the day should look differently from one taken minutes later. If a particular view looks like one you've seen before, move to another spot or add/subtract elements. The key is to be yourself and avoid copying anybody else.
I hope others will add to these basics.
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Isaac

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Re: Any tips for dealing with fog?
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2013, 01:45:53 PM »

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Michael Moore

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Re: Any tips for dealing with fog?
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2013, 02:32:06 PM »

Yes, as I mentioned in my intro in the Coffee Corner I've basically been doing documention snapshots of my main hobby until recently.  I've shot about 1K photos so far with my new gear trying to do more interesting (for photos) subjects, mainly flowers, birds, insects and the occasional landscape.  I'm pretty pleased with some of them and a few prints I've given as gifts were well received.

But the gray fog background makes things look like it does when I've overexposed the sky.  I've read some comments where people recovered a lot of blue from an overexposure, but with the fog there's nothing there to recover because it started out gray.

That gulch photo is nice and I'd like to do something like that, but I'm pretty much of a homebody and I try to avoid getting into the Bay Area freeway madness as much as possible (plus everywhere away from the comforting blanket of fog is often much too hot for many months of the year). 

The fog is not a problem if I'm focused on a bird in a bush or aiming down at a dahlia.  I guess my question may be how can I get the monochrome fog backdrop to work with me in landscapes.

This is not to say I never see the sun, but there is a lot of the year when the fog is in at the beach.

cheers,
Michael
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Any tips for dealing with fog?
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2013, 02:35:32 PM »

Shoot it.

Peter McLennan

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Re: Any tips for dealing with fog?
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2013, 02:47:48 PM »

Shoot it.

Absolutely.  Film crews spend tons of time and money generating fog for several reasons.  Fog is nature's gift to photographers.
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Isaac

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Re: Any tips for dealing with fog?
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2013, 02:54:03 PM »

...and I'd like to do something like that, but I'm pretty much of a homebody and I try to avoid getting into the Bay Area freeway madness as much as possible...

Cycle across the Golden Gate and look back.
Walk up Twin Peaks and look down.
...
What's the tallest building with a public viewing platform?
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kikashi

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Re: Any tips for dealing with fog?
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2013, 03:03:36 PM »

Some of us pray for the conditions you describe!

Jeremy
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PeterAit

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Re: Any tips for dealing with fog?
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2013, 03:11:53 PM »

My suggestion is to look at the fog as an opportunity rather than an obstacle. I recall one morning in the Blue Ridge Mountains when a heavy fog had set in. The crisp, clear landscapes I had planned to take were out of the question - but I did get some lovely photos nonetheless! I don't think that any technical manipulation will make the fog vanish, we are all at the mercy of the weather gods (or devils, perhaps?).
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NancyP

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Re: Any tips for dealing with fog?
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2013, 06:31:06 PM »

My biggest problem with fog is that there isn't enough of it where I live. My second biggest problem with fog is driving in it.
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Michael Moore

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Re: Any tips for dealing with fog?
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2013, 01:10:49 AM »

Thanks for taking time to reply.   It seems I did a poor job of making my question clear to everyone.

Fog may sometimes be an opportunity but at other times a constant to be dealt with (if not overcome).   :)  Clearly there are times when fog is a welcome addition to a photo (such as the examples with the billows of fog wafting through the scenery).  It is common in my neighborhood to have no option but an undifferentiated foggy background.  

In the photo in my original post I had no choice (that I was aware of) but to take it with the monochrome gray sky or to not take it at all.  I'd thought there might have been some common photographic practice that experts took to ameliorate that kind of situation (filters, PhotoShop techniques, etc).  I'm not sure how driving to a different location would have improved that photo.  

I did some more searching and reading and found various PS tutorials on how to modify dull gray sky into something that might be a bit more interesting and that is the kind of information I was inquiring about.  

thanks,
Michael

« Last Edit: September 13, 2013, 01:13:27 AM by Michael Moore »
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tom b

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Re: Any tips for dealing with fog?
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2013, 01:20:49 AM »

Plenty of Fog images out there to get ideas from.

Cheers,

BartvanderWolf

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Re: Any tips for dealing with fog?
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2013, 03:03:06 AM »

In the photo in my original post I had no choice (that I was aware of) but to take it with the monochrome gray sky or to not take it at all.  I'd thought there might have been some common photographic practice that experts took to ameliorate that kind of situation (filters, PhotoShop techniques, etc).  I'm not sure how driving to a different location would have improved that photo.

I did some more searching and reading and found various PS tutorials on how to modify dull gray sky into something that might be a bit more interesting and that is the kind of information I was inquiring about.   


Hi Michael,

Besides reducing the distance between camera and subject (which changes perspective), there is not much that can be done at capture time.

Postprocessing of haze with PS can be very time consuming, and hard to do while still maintaining a natural look, although I think a new tool like Topaz Labs Clarity may be just what you are looking for.

Cheers,
Bart
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Michael Moore

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Re: Any tips for dealing with fog?
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2013, 12:45:40 PM »

Quote
there is not much that can be done at capture time.

Thank you Bart.  That is what I suspected, but since I'm at the beginning of the learning curve it seemed like I should ask in case there was some "everyone knows that" tip that could be used to improve the situation. 

Quote
Postprocessing of haze with PS can be very time consuming, and hard to do while still maintaining a natural look,


I've discovered that!   :)

I will investigate the Clarity tool (or at least add it to my big list of things to eventually investigate).

cheers,
Michael
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angelasscott

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Re: Any tips for dealing with fog?
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2013, 01:25:59 AM »

Some driving tips you can apply when it is foggy weather.

   Drive with lights on low beam. High beams will only be reflected back off the fog and actually impair visibility even more.
   Reduce your speed -- and watch your speedometer. Fog creates a visual illusion of slow motion when you may actually be speeding.
   Listen for traffic you cannot see. Open your window a little, to hear better.
   Use wipers and defrosters as necessary for maximum visibility.
   Use the right edge of the road or painted road markings as a guide.
   Be patient. Do not pass lines of traffic.
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