Fog means different things to different people. When I was an educator on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, it meant an hour or two delay to the start of school. I’d spend the extra time having a cup of coffee and reading the morning paper in the morning (what a concept!) instead of in the evening when I had more time. For commuters, fog means dangerous driving. For boaters and aircraft pilots, it complicates navigation.
But for photographers, fog means it’s time to grab the camera and head out for great shots in diffused light. Fog adds mystery and intrigue and a layer of softness to images not achievable by any other means. It adds beautiful dewy droplets to leaves and flowers. And for spiderwebs, fog leaves behind evenly-spaced, beaded jewels of water, decorating them only as fog can do. It’s magical.
I recently returned from a trip to Maine, and fog there is special. When warm summer air moves over Maine’s naturally cooler waters, the fog that dvelops can hang around for hours — or days. If you get up in the morning and see fog, there’s usually time to get dressed, have your cup of coffee, and walk or drive to the harbor or that special place you love to go. But here in Central Maryland, when you see that early morning fog, you need to jump on it, like I did this morning.
There is a field near my house where I have gotten some great photos of webs and wires. When I have the time, and the fog seems to be socked in, I’ll head for Thomas Farm on Baker Valley Road. To get there, you need to travel on Araby Church Road. Leading to the farmhouse on Araby Church, there is a lovely tree-lined lane with a split rail fence that is wonderful in the fog. But best of all, near the barn on Baker Valley, there are wire fences for containing the cows where the resident spiders build awesome webs, and in the fog, they are spectacular.
To get good photographs in the fog, you’ll need to shoot on a tripod. The dimmer light often means slower shutter speeds, so reduce the chance of any movement on your part by using one. If you want to capture the beautiful beads of dew, whether on leaves or spiderwebs, you’ll want a macro lens. If your camera is a “point-and-shoot,” use the flower (or macro) setting. Getting sharp focus on a spider web can be difficult, since the filaments are so thin, so turn off the autofocus on your camera or lens and use the focus ring. If you use Live View on the camera, you can zoom in on the web to be sure that the droplets are sharp before you take the picture.
Wear rubber boots or old shoes, because they will get wet. Bring something to sit or kneel on for those shots down low. Bring a microfiber cleaning cloth to wipe off your lens if it, too, fogs up.
Getting out into the early morning fog with my camera is one of my favorite things to do. I hope it becomes one of yours, too.
Click on any photo to enlarge.
“Life Through My Lens” is a travel/photography blog written by Cam Miller, copyright 2014
Email: cam.miller@comcast. net