Problems shooting river scenes -morning fog

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by trhull, Oct 3, 2005.

  1. trhull

    trhull Member

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    I have been unsuccessful in capturing fog using tri-x 400/120, which I rate at 400 and develop in D-76 1:1 for 13 1/4 minutes with agitation for the first minute, followed by each minute thereafter for 10 seconds. I use a medium yellow filter. The time is usually 10 minutes before sun rise to about 1 hour after sunrise. I am almost always shooting to the south.

    Would a different filter help? Any other ideas. Thanks
     
  2. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I would try rating Tri-X at 200, and adjust your development accordingly. A little extra exposure, and a little less development might get you a better negative.
     
  3. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    You may also try shooting without the filter since you want to record a low contrast scene. Possibly use a light blue?
     
  4. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    There is another thread in this section about capturing fog, it might be worthwhile to read.
     
  5. smieglitz

    smieglitz Member

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    I would do just the opposite of what is suggested here.

    You are dealing with a low contrast subject and lighting situation. That's textbook for pushing your film by underexposing (rating the film at a higher ISO like 800 or 1600) and extending the development to increase contrast.

    The pulling will only increase your problem of low contrast, which is why I presume you are using the yellow filter in the first place. Pulling is reserved for high contrast situations such as bright sunny days, night scenes, etc.

    Try pushing the film two stops without the filter.

    Joe
     
  6. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    Pulling in general is a bad idea, you lose your local contrast. With modern films having the dynamic range that they have it's usually better to simply shoot it and process it normally. If you have a really contrasty scene with overly dark shadows you can always try some pre-exposure to give some shadow detail and values.
     
  7. trhull

    trhull Member

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    Yes. That is why I have used a yellow filter. I will try pushing next time. Is there anything unique to fog vis. the angle of the sun, or is it handled like any other somewhat sidelit scene, in terms of getting detail in fog?
     
  8. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I've got this backwards! I should have read the original post more carefully, since you are shooting about ten minutes before the sun rises, yes... yes... push the film.

    Quick question though... if you were to shoot a scene, say an hour after sunrise, with low morning fog, in a valley or over a river with a clear bright sun coming up, what would be the best way to meter and rate the film.
     
  9. John Cook

    John Cook Member

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    It would help me to better advise you if I knew exactly in what way you feel you have been unsuccessful.

    Has the fog disappeared from your photograph? Or is the problem that your picture is foggy?

    I have done lots of fog pictures in color, primarily because the client wanted pictures of the fog. Removing it with filtration seemed counterproductive to the assignment. And enhancing its density, unnecessary.

    One problem with b&w is that it functions as a result of a key light (the sun) which provides texture, plus a fill light which opens the shadows. Remove the key light and you have no detail. And nothing from Tiffen will fix that.

    This is why a field of snow on an overcast day has no hills and dales. Just pure paper white. And burning in gives you only pure gray mush. Same with a foggy scene: no detail, no texture.

    My experience with fog is that it doesn't sit around in big white piles like 800 pounds of Cool Whip. In fact, it is not actually visible. The only visible effect is to remove detail in relation to its distance from the camera. A tree in front of a house becomes a tree in front of an off-white background.

    The major advantage to fog is its ability to remove unwanted detail, like power lines travelling through the virgin forest. Or graffiti on an old train bridge. But aside from removing detail, it is not actually visible as an object in itself.

    If you want dramatic, phoney fog, rent a Mole Richardson fog machine from a cine supplier in Hollywood. It will spray out liquid "fog juice" through a basket of dry ice which cools the white fog/smoke and makes it hang as small dense puffy clouds in the air. This effect, from the movies, is perhaps what you were expecting, not real fog in its natural state?
     
  10. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    So... are you basically saying that fog the way we see it - lovely, rolling, blanket of intangible mist - cannot be cought on B&W film?(other than as a lack of detail over distance?)
     
  11. thedarkroomstudios

    thedarkroomstudios Member

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    This is the best time of year for it... real or fake :smile: Drugstores sell a cheap $30 fog machine at halloween time you can alsways use to augment your existing nature.

    Seriously, you want to get up on as cool a morning as possible, ideally after a few really warm days. The warmer the water and the colder the air, the denser the fog. I agree with the above and underexpose as I expect your goal will be to have fields of white (or reduced detail as above) interspersed throughout the scene... whether in a diffuse manner or with the sun rays breaking through the trees.
     
  12. John Cook

    John Cook Member

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    gnashings, in answer to your question, this is the reason I am asking for more details on the perceived problem.

    A dense localized pocket of fog in a valley is, of course, easily visible in clear weather from a distant hilltop.

    That same area of fog is not so visible (nor photographable) from inside the fog bank itself.

    On a similar note, any painter will tell you that you can't have "bright" without dark. A nighttime campfire has brilliance and great drama. The same fire at high noon on a sunny beach of dazzling white sand has no such drama. Nor do blazing automobile headlights have the same intensity in broad daylight as they do on a dark rainy night on slick shiny streets.
     
  13. trhull

    trhull Member

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    John-I am trying to capture the mood of the scene on B&W. I guess if I can correctly expose, develop, etc., it should do it, but somehow doesn't seem to do so. If I had a scanner I would post some examples. Yes, by reducing background details the mood is created. I'll pass on the hollywood fog, as some of those folks out there seem to be long on the stuff..

    Immediately after the sun has risen, and shooting to the south, would a polarizer, yellow filter combination establish separation between the fog, water, and sky?

    Thanks to all for your responses.
     
  14. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    I've found for the greatest impact a fog picture needs some foreground material that will record at a normal tonality against the fogged in background. Contrast!
     
  15. John Cook

    John Cook Member

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    I agree with Gary's last comment.

    You really need to get out of the fog bank into the clear air to make a photograph which distinctly shows the bank rolling in. This is not easy when the fog seems to be everywhere.

    It's kind of like shooting a seascape from under water.

    Perhaps there is a vantage point, like a high-rise building, church belltower or hilltop from which to shoot your foggy scene.

    On August days, one can stand along the Maine shoreline and watch a wall of dense fog roll in from the Bay of Fundy. Perhaps you could be at the river when the fog is forming or blowing in from somewhere.

    This may turn out to be more of a meteorological problem than a photographic one.
     
  16. Steve Hamley

    Steve Hamley Member

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    John and Gary are fundamentally correct; uniform fog rarely creates an image of distinction. However, you can be close enough to foreground objects that fog isn't apparent even though it's reasonably uniform. Here's a link to an example. I was in a fairly uniform fog/cloud bank.

    http://www.pbase.com/sahamley/image/45151555

    And just for hoots and giggles, almost the same shot taken on a different day in late afternoon sidelight with no fog at all.

    http://www.pbase.com/sahamley/image/45217514

    Steve
     
  17. trhull

    trhull Member

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    Steve-great shots- My problem is more in black & white. I am shooting from a bridge
    where the fog bank is about 300 yards away. I guess I am still not sure whether a polarizer/yellow filter combo would help, but I will experiment some more.

    Thanks again.
     
  18. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    Excellent examples Steve! Fog is a great tool for exagerating or delineating distances in the same way haze on the horizon helps put some sense of scale to a landscape, only closer. My first example in B&W also had the sun shining through it, the second shows a fog bank shot from outside its influence. Experimentation will reveal more ways to utilize fog, this by no means defines all you can do with it.
     

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  19. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    My experience is neither filter will have any effect, as the fog is not polarised to any appreciable degree and the light has no color bias to utilise for contrast. If the scene is all in the fog with no foreground contrasting with it then enhancing the contrast in the darkroom would be the best bet. Push a little, print a bit contrastier paper, see how far you need to go for the effect you want.
     
  20. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    Of the few times I've been up early enough to see fog and had a camera handy, I've metered off something 'normal' looking (usually nearby) and developed the film normally. Thought I had a example of a valley filled with fog but haven't got a scan of it.
     

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