STE P BY STE P / Get all misty-eyed

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

1 Hire a fog ma­chine

First, get hold of an in­ex­pen­sive fog ma­chine. You can buy th­ese out­right from around £30, or hire them. You also need the liq­uid for it, which costs about £10 and lasts for ages. The ma­chine takes about five min­utes to heat the liq­uid, then spurts out a stream of fog.

2 Power it up

If you don’t want to be re­stricted to mains sock­ets, con­sider get­ting a power in­verter. Th­ese turn your car bat­tery into a us­able power source (make sure it’s suit­able for the wattage of your fog ma­chine). You can even con­nect this to an ex­ten­sion cable for ex­tra reach.

3 Look into the sun

Wait for a still, wind­less day. A spot with di­rect sun­light is best, as this re­sults in strong light rays that will re­flect well in the fog. Set your cam­era up fac­ing into the bright light (a tri­pod isn’t es­sen­tial for this, but it’s handy), with a tree trunk ob­scur­ing the sun from the lens.

4 Spray your scene

Spray the fog up­wind so that it drifts across the scene, and move the po­si­tion around so that it’s dis­trib­uted in the fore­ground and back­ground of the scene. Shoot into the light so that the sun catches the par­ti­cles in the air and shows up as beau­ti­ful shafts.

5 Catch some rays

The fog might be too thick, like in this shot. If so, wait for a few sec­onds for the fog to dis­si­pate and then shoot. To cap­ture shafts of misty light, com­pose the shot so that there are shad­owy ar­eas in the frame. The light rays will show up more clearly against a darker back­ground.

6 Ex­pose for the high­lights

The fore­ground will be in shadow, so ex­pose for the high­lights – it’s bet­ter to cap­ture the trees in sil­hou­ette than to blow out all of your fog. Here we’re at 1/6 sec, f/13, ISO100. If you don’t want to shoot man­ual, try fine-tun­ing bright­ness with ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion.

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