Fog isn’t all too bad I suppose although it’s damp, dreary and too cool to welcome this fair weather explorer outdoors. I will go out and have coffee on the porch stretching my eyes to the perimeter of the grey cloud. It began to lift at 10 am ever so slowly however what was left behind is for me worse than fog. It was overcast lightly with just enough sun filtering through to brighten the entire sky as if one is inside a fluorescent tube light. What it means for me is no matter where the camera is directed the image will be either a silhouette or underdeveloped.
There are ways to work around the overcast but it needs to be definitive unlike todays condition where is was almost a clear sky and almost cloudy. My tact is to create an artwork using the lifting fog and dreary sky to my advantage. In the above image the subject (Blue Heron) is almost 600 yards from me I’m using a 600mm lens. I cropped it minimally and took out some rubbish. Absent of spectacular colors or heavy traffic on the slough this photo is passable and gave me an opportunity to use a bit of photoshop; which by the way has an increasing learning curve, it’s one of those things the more I learn the more there is to learn.
One other way I have found to work with the dreariness is to use it as a backdrop. In this photo it was incredibly foggy with visibility not too far beyond the Blue Heron. I used my tri-pod for the 70D Canon, set the ISO at 100 and the shutter was slow at 1/30 of a second; I used a remote shutter to eliminate shaking. It came out a nice photograph. The editing I performed was minimal consisting mostly of contrast, shadows and clarity. I have taken thousands of images of the Blue Herons; this one is among the best I have.
I have another method of dealing with the gloom.
When the haze begins to lift I wait until the backdrop is obscure then wait for the Sun to filter through. It works well as in the photo above but I have to be alert to catch the Sun because it changes quickly under those conditions; it helps to have a subject that will stay put for a while as this Sea Gull did. It’s a bit of work but it normally ends up being worth the effort more so after deleting 150 photos out of 155 shot during this session. It’s not an exaggeration however many of the images I take knowing they will have to be deleted. These are shots at flying birds mostly as practice tracking them, either the skill is used or it is lost; practice is essential.
Successfully capturing a good picture of a flying bird takes a lot of skill developed through practice; the keeper ratio is close to 1:1000. It may be a bit lower but I am in dought . I dedicate at least one day to be spent on taking pictures of small flying birds, many times I will spend a week at the task ending up with 3-6 photos worthy of keeping. The big birds flying against the wind are always my best bet while the small ones are a real challenge. They typically they don’t fly in the fog, so it’s left for Skunk-puppy, me and my coffee to unravel it and make sense of it all. The foggy days aren’t lost however when worse comes to bad sitting there drinking coffee isn’t too much of a disappointment either.
Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance