How to photograph fog?

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by tuonno, Nov 30, 2006.

  1. tuonno

    tuonno Member

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    now, I understand that this might sound silly but how do you do it? Last night it was VERY foggy in my town... I tried taking a few snaps with EFKE 100 film and pushed it to 400... all the shots were fine mre or less (I was photographing my friends in the city, lots of streetlight) but no fog....

    Also, during the day.... how to capture that misty feel?

    thanx!
    :smile:
     
  2. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Well, Rayleigh light scattering by water particles is what gives the fog its appearance. Its whitish because all the different colours across the spectrum are scattered. But it turns out that the amount of Rayleigh scattering goes as the inverse of the wavelength to the fourth power, so bluer wavelengths are scattered much much more than redder ones. This is the Tyndall effect that produces our blue sky.

    That's why when we use IR film, even on a hazy summer day, we can get stunningly sharp images. But at the other end of the spectrum, if you shoot a typical blue sensitive film, you will have more apparent haze.

    I haven't tried photographing fog with the intention of enhancing it, but I think I would try a blue filter and see if you can manipulate the density of the fog that way. I think blue filtering will give you more fog, red will give you less.

    Or... you could stick to a more blue sensitive film and avoid the panchromatics.

    Also try long exposures... that has a way of building up density in the fogged regions and making them stand out more from the unfogged areas. So that's a good way to go if you are trying to get fog hanging over a river or something like that.
     
  3. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    Using a blue filter *should* emphasize the fog, but I'm not familiar enough with your film to know how much you could expect with which filter. I use a minus blue (yellow #12) filter to cut asmospheric haze and to slightly darken the sky, so it would seem logical to expect a blue filter to emphasize haze (or fog) and lighten the sky.

    - Randy
     
  4. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    I just found this info, which was on the web so take it for what it's worth, but it came from a site that I've to be accurate in most all cases...

    #47
    A Blue filter (tricolor) that lightens the sky and darkens green foliage and reds. The use of a blue filter exaggerates atmospheric effects.

    - Randy
     
  5. DrPablo

    DrPablo Member

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    Fog also generally reduces contrast across a scene (unless you're talking about very brightly toplit or backlit fog). So you might be able to enhance this muted effect by pulling a couple stops in development.
     
  6. tuonno

    tuonno Member

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    thank you! ;-)
     
  7. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

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    My most successful technique is that after I take the picture, and before advancing the film, I open the back of the camera and then close it again real quick. That gives the resulting photo a somewhat..foggy...look....well..:wink:
     
  8. vet173

    vet173 Member

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    Or you could enhance it the other way if you want a little more punch. Incident reading wit NO shift factor, and overdevelop.
     
  9. Wyno

    Wyno Member

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    Does this mean that it's just film base plus fog?
    Mike:D :rolleyes:
     
  10. Earl Dunbar

    Earl Dunbar Member

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    Easiest is to use an incident meter for light readings. Develop with a developer that can give long tonal scale. Play with filtration too.
     
  11. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    Put the camera inside your coat when you go out.

    Open the back just a little.

    Close it again.

    All the fog you could want!
     
  12. vet173

    vet173 Member

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    It took me a minute.
     
  13. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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    I find the grain doesn't work well with fog. As such, I tend to print small, use fine-grained film, use a fine grain developer, and/or use a larger piece of film. This is especially true since I usually give fog exposures N+2 (or more) development. With fog, there's very little contrast, and so I expose at zone IV and develop the bejesus out the film. That's simply what works for me.
     
  14. Troy Hamon

    Troy Hamon Member

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    Shooting toward light sources accentuates fog or mist.
     
  15. smieglitz

    smieglitz Member

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    Though I have really never shot fog as a subject, I would follow Peter's advice. Foggy scenes are very low in contrast and IIRC, might only have a range of tonal separation of a couple stops. So, lowered placement and extended development would seem to be the rule.

    If, for example, you placed say a dark tree trunk in fog on zone II (dark gray that has some tone but just a hint of detail), the lighter fog might only fall around zone V (middle gray). So you'd have the shadow but not the correct highlight. Overdevelopment would move the middle values upward considerably compared to the shadows which might only rise slightly in value. So with a two-stop push (N+2 development) you would probably end up with something like zone II 1/2 for the dark tree trunk (dark gray with slightly more shadow detail) while the fog would reproduce around zone VII (light gray with highlight detail). This happens because exposure has its most pronounced influence on shadows while the effects of development are seen mainly in the lighter tones. Hence the old adage "Expose for the shadows & develop for the highlights."

    What I've described here is probably akin to what White, Zakia, and Lorenz refer to as "bi-directional contrast control," in The New Zone System Manual. In this case the procedure couples an underexposure of a couple stops (N-2 exposure for the tree trunks) with overdevelopment of a couple stops (N+2 development for the fog) and visualizes the growth in contrast from the middle zones outward.

    The blue filter would probably accentuate the fogginess of the scene but I would think the contrast would be lowered considerably as well, and that is not what I would be chasing in such a scene.

    Joe
     
  16. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    The very few successful fog pics I have taken in the last 40 years -- that is, the ones I am pleased with -- are generously exposed 'chromes for a light, airy feel. In mono, light prints are almost always more successful (in my experience) than dark ones.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  17. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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  18. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    I agree with Roger - light prints with very little nearing black seem most successful to me.
    juan
     
  19. Earl Dunbar

    Earl Dunbar Member

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    I agree that a slow (fine-grain) film is best for fog, with "generous" exposure. Again, using an incident reading helps.