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Posts Tagged ‘dust’

postheadericon Mist, Fog, and Dust

Thicker than haze, mist, fog, and dust tend to shroud scenes to hide all distant detail, bu these conditions can also offer strange, evocative scenes. Mist, fog, and dust can be so dense as to make even nearby difficult to see. The droplets or particles are so  large  that there is no selective scattering of wavelengths, just an overall diffusion. (Dust has its own color, and tinges the view yellow, light brown, or whatever.) Do not view these as problem conditions: they clear eventually – and when fog dissipates it often does so very quickly – and meanwhile can make interesting graphic images.


In dense fog, or when the sun is fairly high, there is little if any sense of direction to foggy light. If you choose the distance at which you shoot carefully and close to the limits of legibility, the color and tonal effect of the resulting pictures will be extremely delicate. Against the light, depending on the density, these conditions produce some form of silhouetting. Close to the camera, the subjects are likely to stand out quite clearly, wit good contrast. At a distance, the silhouettes and setting will be in shades of gray. As the conditions shift, thicken or clear, the nature of the images will change quite significantly. Dust in particular is a very active condition: it needs wind or movement to remain in the atmosphere. Back lighting gives the best impression of its swirling and rising, but then there are obvious dangers in using your equipment in such conditions.


Fog offers a wide range of opportunities. A valuable project on a foggy day is to restrict your shooting to one location, while trying to create as varied a selection of images as possible. As well as looking for different subjects and viewpoints and using lenses of different focal lengths, wait until the fog begins to clear to take advantage of the following shifting effects:


– delicate colors in directionless lighting

– dept of view with subjects at different distances from the camera, fading progressively towards the distance

– strong silhouettes against the light

– pale silhouettes

– clearing, shifting fog; a wide-angle lens is often best for showing different thicknesses of fog in one image

– a view from a high point of a sea of fog with clear air above, ideally with the tops of trees or buildings standing out

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