18 Dec 2007

Photographing fog

Just because the weather is poor, it’s no reason to put your camera away and hunker down in front of the fire. Fog, for instance, is one of those weather conditions that can transform everything you see into mystical shapes and monochromatic colour.

When fog descends on this part of SW Scotland, I often head down the estuary to photograph the boats heading up river into the harbour. These fishing boats come looming up out of the mist, so it is important that the camera is set and ready to take pictures.

Fog is one of those conditions that can cause your autofocus to ‘hunt’. So be prepared to use the Manual Focus function – remember that? It’s the one where you actually have to use your own fingers to turn the focusing ring. If you are using an automatic compact camera, you will not have this option, but my little Canon Ixus always seems to cope better that the SLRs in these conditions.

The other main problem can be one of exposure. All that white mist reflects a lot of light. Just like photographing in snow, this can fool your exposure reading into believing there is lots of light – that causes under-exposure. So over-expose by one stop or value if you are using manual exposure mode. If you are using an auto exposure mode then set the exposure compensation to +1 value. Experiment for best results. Not all subjects need this compensation, as I will show you in my next post.

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