Mist y Morn­ings

While it can be a night­mare for your av­er­age com­muter, no land­scape pho­tog­ra­pher can re­sist a spot of morn­ing mist

Digital SLR Photography - - The Beginner ’s Guide -

Mist is yet an­other weather trait we closely as­so­ciate with spring. Af­ter cool, clear nights, mist will rise mys­te­ri­ously around wa­ter and above wet, dewy fields. It cloaks the at­mo­sphere to cre­ate eerie and ir­re­sistibly pho­to­genic con­di­tions. There­fore, at this time of year, set your alarm for day­break and get out­side to cap­ture won­der­fully moody misty shots!

If you want to pho­to­graph mist, you first need to recog­nise what to look for when check­ing the weather fore­cast. The ba­sic re­quire­ment for mist or fog to form is mois­ture in the air – the higher the level of hu­mid­ity, the bet­ter. While there are dif­fer­ent forms of mist and fog, ar­guably the most pho­to­genic – and com­monly oc­cur­ring in spring – is ra­di­a­tion fog. This is most likely to oc­cur dur­ing clear nights, when the land cools overnight by ra­di­at­ing the heat up into the at­mo­sphere. When the air close to the ground cools to dew point, the wa­ter vapour in the at­mo­sphere will be­come vis­i­ble as fog in the air and dew on the ground. Air move­ment will pro­duce thicker fog, so a wind speed of be­low 8kph is de­sir­able. Look closely at weather fore­casts the night be­fore­hand and, if the con­di­tions sug­gest mist may oc­cur, be­gin plan­ning your shoot.

It is tricky to an­tic­i­pate just where and when mist will form. How­ever, large bod­ies of wa­ter will gen­er­ate mist and you will of­ten find mist form­ing in val­leys and over wet fields and flood- plains. There­fore, these are among the best places to visit when mist is fore­cast. Mist can look truly mag­i­cal hang­ing at­mo­spher­i­cally above the coun­try­side. An el­e­vated view­point will of­ten prove a good choice, al­low­ing you to get above the misty con­di­tions. Ide­ally, choose one over­look­ing rolling coun­try­side, wood­land or a vil­lage. Mist will sim­plify scenery, re­duc­ing colour and con­trast and em­pha­sis­ing the shape of ob­jects. You will ide­ally want to in­clude a key fo­cal point within your shots, so look for points of in­ter­est within the land­scape pok­ing up above the mist that you can use to har­ness your com­po­si­tion – a church steeple, build­ing, or row of trees, for ex­am­ple.

Wide- an­gles are nor­mally the main­stay of a land­scape pho­tog­ra­pher, but – when shoot­ing mist – a tele­photo is of­ten a bet­ter op­tion. By us­ing a longer lens – in the re­gion of 70- 300mm – you fore­shorten per­spec­tive and com­press or ex­ag­ger­ate the ef­fect of misty weather. A longer lens also al­lows you to iso­late sub­jects within the mist – a lone




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