This is the best time of year for it... real or fake 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.
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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.
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.
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!
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.
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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.
And just for hoots and giggles, almost the same shot taken on a different day in late afternoon sidelight with no fog at all.
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.
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.
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.
Originally Posted by trhull
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.