Archive for the 'mist' Category

02
Oct
10

10/2/2010: Peat bog!

Saco Heath is one of my favorite photographic destinations in Southern Maine. I have used several images from there as Pic of the Days and I have a gallery on Wide Eyed In Wonder dedicated to it. Saco Heath is a remnant peat bog…the southern-most in Maine, and, as such, provides a sample of an environment that I would otherwise not have access to.

While at Quoddy Head State Park last Saturday, I visited their peat bog…tiny compared to Saco Heath, but totally, awesomely alive. It is obvious, having seen the bog at Quoddy Head, how the bog at Saco Heath struggles for survival. Even in the fog, and even as fall comes on, the Quoddy bog is vibrant and beautiful. At a guess I would say there are more pitcher plants in a 3 yard square of Quoddy than there are in all of Saco. And the variety of mosses and lichens and stunted trees is simply amazing. Truly a beautiful little gem of a bog!

For today I preset the bog in the wide view. Tomorrow you will see some of the detail. The top shot shows a section where the moss still rules, and the second shot, from the back edge of the bog, shows how the trees have pushed out into the bog, where they live a life in miniature. The fog, in both cases, and imho, only adds to the atmosphere of the place.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent. Both at f4.0 @ 1/100th @ ISO 80 and Landscape program.

Recovery in Lightroom for the overexposed fog, some Fill Light and Blackpoint right, added Clarity and Vibrance, and Sharpen narrow edges preset. Since the fog in the distance was completely white and somewhat distracting, I used a Graduated Filter effect on both images to darken the sky, which had the added benefit of making the fog more transparent.

30
Sep
10

9/30/2010: Fog on the Cliffs of Quoddy Head

Fog is difficult to photograph, since the scattered light within the fog itself makes it photographically bright, though it has the opposite effect to the natural eye. A bank of fog almost always comes out as a white indistinct mass in an image. If you expose for the fog, to keep it natural, then the landscape under it goes dark and muddy. Seems like an ideal situation for HDR…kind of. I tried several shots on the cliffs of Quoddy Head to test the effect. As always with HDR, I’d have done better with a tripod…especially as the base exposures all had show shutter speeds due to the overall low level of the light. I did get a few shots that worked though, like the one above.

A secondary problem, if you go the HDR route, is Photomatix’s inability to blend exposures where fine detail masks an open sky…trees against the sky are particularly difficult for the app…and you almost always get a light halo around limbs and leaves where the lighter exposure shows through. Changing the smoothing setting can help in making this less obvious but in this image it still shows somewhat in the trees in the upper right.

The other way to work the fog is to use Revovery and Fill Light in Lightroom, along with some filter trickery. This shot is not HDR, but I was able to extend the range and keep the fog semi-transparent, by using heavy Recovery, which reduces the highlights in an image without effecting the rest of the tones. Fill Light for the foreground allows me to move the Blackpoint right to increase color depth and contrast. Finally, in this case, the fog in the upper left corner was totally blown out and distractingly white…so I went in with a Local Adjustment Brush, set large with maximum feather, and brushed in an adjustment area in that corner. I used to to reduce exposure and brightness selectively there, producing a more natural grey where it was white. If the area had not been so oddly shaped I would have just used a Graduated Filter Effect pulled down from that corner, but LAB worked better for this image.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent.

From Quoddy Head and Lubec ME.

29
Sep
10

9/29/2010: Birch

Birch bark has always fascinated me. As a boy I kept a collection one summer, of the best scraps I had found, pretending, if memory serves me right, that they represented some kind of wealth. This snippet is from a foggy morning at Quoddy Head State park, and you can see the moisture saturating the bark…in both the natural and the photographic sense. Backing away a bit…and a bit further

You can see that even at these moderate distances you begin to see the effect of the fog…though it does not diminish the beauty of the birch.

Canon SX20IS at 1) 400mm equivalent @ f5.0 @ 1/30th @ ISO 200, 2) 170mm equivalent @ f4.5 @ 1/50th @ ISO 200, both in Landscape Program, and 3) 28mm equivalent @ f2.8 @ 1/125th @ ISO 160, Programmed Auto.

In Lightroom, a small amount of Recovery, some Fill Light and Blackpoint right, added Clarity and Vibrance, and Sharpen narrow edges preset.

From Quoddy Head and Lubec ME.

28
Sep
10

9/28/2010: Quoddy Head Forest

The forest at Quoddy Head is a typical northern coastal forest…full of moss and lichen…and, on my visit, made even more mysterious by the fog. I love this kind of landscape, but experience has proven that it is very hard to capture what I see there in an image. This one comes close. And so does this.

Both Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent. 1) F2.8 @ 1/30th @ ISO 100. 2) three exposure HDR using auto bracket.

In Lightroom, some Recovery for the fog, a bit of Fill Light and Blackpoint right, added Clarity and Vibrance, and Sharpen narrow edges preset. Processing of #1 was more extreme than #2 as I was working from a single exposure.

27
Sep
10

9/27/2010: Quoddy Head Light

Quoddy Head Light, while not, perhaps, one of the more attractive Lighthouse in Maine, has the distinction of being the eastern-most Lighthouse in the United States, standing on the eastern-most point of land in the United States. It is so far east that my cell phone claimed it was in another time zone.

The other thing that distinguishes Quoddy Head is fog. Beside the light is the fog horn, and it goes part or all of most days. Certainly, while I had hopes according the National Weather Service, it never stopped sounding during my visit, and the fog never lifted more than a few feet off the ground. Maybe the NWS is not in charge of the weather in that time zone?

Still, you can’t visit Quoddy Head without photographing the Light, fog or no fog…so…

Though I tried this shot as an HDR, hoping for better light on the Lighthouse, I like this single shot version better, as I was able to maintain, and even emphasize, detail in the foreground grass…maybe I would have done better with the HDR with a tripod.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent, f2.8 @ 1/640th @ ISO 125. Programmed auto.

In Lightroom, recovery for the fog, Blackpoint right, added Clarity and Vibrance, and Sharpen narrow edges preset. Then I pulled a Graduated Filter effect up from the bottom to increase brightness, contrast, and clarity on the lawn (to bring up the fine details) and one down from the top to darken just a bit, increase contrast considerably, and add a bit of saturation.  Finally, I used the vertical distortion control to straighten the house and Light.

And here it is from the other side:

26
Sep
10

9/26/2010: Orange River Marsh

Happy Sunday!

I am in Machias Maine this morning, having brought daughter #4 up to visit daughter #3 at college on Home Coming weekend. Yesterday, despite heavy fog over the coast, I drove up to Quoddy Head State Park to explore and to see what I could find to photograph. On the way up, while still on Route 1, I passed an Atlantic Coast Conservancy pull off for Reynolds Marsh, and a few seconds later crossed the marsh (or river…it is the Orange River) itself. It looked so promising that I had to turn around and go back.

It was actually raining lightly when I got out of the car, and I had to work with one hand covering the controls of the camera all the time, and trust to my lens shade to keep water off the lens. There was a short walk down through the woods to the marsh, and I no more than stepped beneath trees than two Ruffed Grouse shot up in front of me and beat away among the spruce. The trail led to a canoe launch on the edge of the marsh.

The challenge with fog is getting enough light on the foreground so it looks natural without turning the fog into a bright white nimbus that blanks out the top 2/3rs of the image. And of course it is the contrast between the saturated wet colors close by, particularly rich in the diffuse light, and the grey encroaching atmosphere, that makes a foggy morning so interesting photographically.

I tried a few three exposure HDRs, and I am pretty happy with the results. I find that, using Photomtix for the HDRs, I still have to envision what I will be able to do with the image in Lightroom, and adjust the tone mapping in Photomatix with that in mind.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent. Three exposures separated by 2EV with the center of the range moved down –2/3EV using exposure compensation. ISO 125.

Photomatix tone-mapping, and then a bit more Recovery in Lightroom, some Fill Light, and the Blackpoint moved right…added Clarity and Vibrance, and Sharpen narrow edges preset.

And, being Sunday, I think about the parable potential of the image as well…

The fog that obscures the distance (future?), should not lessen your enjoyment of the rich saturated colors of your life close at hand…and, in fact, the contrast is, often, what makes life interesting. Or so say I.

One more from the foggy marsh. This one is not an HDR, but I was able to balance the exposure using Recovery and Fill Light in Lightroom. Taken in wide (16/9) mode.

09
Jul
10

7/9/2010

Fog Early Along the Coast

A typical August weather report, here in July. Flood tide on Back Creek, behind Parson’s Beach in Kennebunk, Maine. Trying for a sense of depth, even with a closed horizon, by including the few scraggly roses in the foreground. The passing seagull was just a bonus.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent. F4.0 @ 1/60th @ ISO 80. Landscape program.

Heavy Recovery to add some transparency to the fog, a touch of Fill Light for the foreground. Blackpoint right for intensity. Added Clarity and just a tiny amount of Vibrance. Sharpen narrow edges preset. Finally, I used a Graduated Filter effect drawn down across the top 2/3s of the image to darken the fog so it appears more like it did to the eye.

From Around Home 2010.

13
Dec
09

12/13/2009

So Winter!

Happy Sunday!

Another from the Winter Archives. I hope to get out today for photography. We shall see.

This is the Back Creek marsh where Rt. 9 passes over it, south of Kennebunkport and kind of behind Parson’s Beach on a very winterly day. I remember getting out to take the pic, braving really bad roads and driving conditions, but drawn out to see what I could see. Fog closes the horizon and actually adds to the impression of cold.

Sony DSC H9 at about 180mm equivalent. F5.0 @ 1/500th @ ISO 100. Programmed auto.

Recovery for the fog and highlights in Lightroom. Added Clarity and Vibrance. Sharpen Landscapes preset.

From Winter Weather: Kennebunk ME.

03
Oct
09

10/3/2009

Fog over South Point and Cypress Grove

Fog over South Point and Cypress Grove

Like I said…no such thing as a bad day at Point Lobos. Even the fog is epic! This is a shot from the Sea Lion Point trail looking back at South Point and Cypress Grove. One of the classic views at Point Lobos. The blowing fog, moving in across the point, adds some mystery and drama, without detracting significantly from the view.

Sony DSC H50 at 31mm equivalent. F5.6 @ 1/500th @ ISO 100. Programed auto.

Recovery in Lightroom for the fog effects. Recovery, as I have mentioned before, reduces the highlights in the image. In the case of fog, a lot of what you are looking at is scattered light. Recovery removes a layer of that so that you see deeper into the fog, and increases the contrast between light and dark areas within the fog so that it looks altogether more transparent….as it does in real life. Added Clarity and Vibrance in the Presence panel. Blackpoint just right. Sharpen landscape preset.

From Monterey Bay 09.

30
Sep
09

9/30/2009

Point Lobos Fog

Point Lobos Fog

There is no such thing as a bad day at Point Lobos…not even a bad day for photography. When I got there on this year’s visit, the fog was already blowing over the point, and was actually quite heavy at Cypress Grove. Still the scene had its charm.

Compositionally this is a challenging shot. Normally I would not have put the upright tree trunk so near center, but it was necessary to put the fog bound tree on the offshore rock where I wanted it…at the power point (rule of thirds). The result is that the eye is drawn past the upright trunk out into the fog to the tree on the rock…which is what I was after. Only then, after exploring the details in the fog, does the eye come back to the strong shapes in the foreground. Works for me. How about you?

Sony DSC H50 at 31mm equivalent. F5.6 @ 1/500 @ ISO 100. Programed auto.

Cropped slightly from the right in Lightroom for composition. Recovery for the fog (brings out the inner light), added Clarity and Vibrance in the Presence panel, Sharpen landscape preset.

From Monterey Bay 09.