Mist and fog can be a cool effect to have in a travel, landscape or city photo. It is not something you can program, however, and when you are lucky enough to experience it, be ready with your camera.
There are few locations where it is easier to find mist and fog, others that are almost impossible. In all cases both mist and fog are seasonable.
These are the best tips to be ready with your camera. Planning is of course a big part of it.
Learn where mist forms
Some locations are particularly susceptible to mist, such as river valleys, lakes and marshes. It can be a good idea to head towards these areas first, although the mist here can sometimes be too dense, obscuring trees and other landscape features completely.
If this is the case try to get as high as you can and work around the edges of any thicker banks of fog where parts of the landscape are still visible.
Pick a good vantage point
In misty conditions a good vantage point is usually a high vantage point! For the best variety of shots you’ll need to be above the mist, looking down upon it with a clear view of the surrounding landscape.
Great images can also be made at a lower level, along riverbanks and around the shores of lakes, but here the opportunities to take a variety of different shots tend to be more limited.
Pick a good vantage point, as on top of a village, for a misty photo
Persevere and revisit
Misty conditions are highly unpredictable so it’s often necessary to keep returning to the same location whenever there is the slightest chance of mist forming overnight.
Remember that mist can be patchy and may not always form in the same areas each time. Mist also moves around a surprising amount and may come and go in a few minutes.
Cloud has a tendency to suck the mist upwards, making the conditions hazy and poor for photography. On clear days the mist will thicken around sunrise and then quickly thin and burn off as the sun’s rays start to take effect.
You may have to revisit a place several time before you have the right conditions for your foggy landscape photo
Don’t rely upon your lens hood to prevent flare from creeping into your images.
When shooting into the light at sunrise or sunset the sun’s rays are still likely to strike the lens.
Try using a piece of card held at arm’s length to cast a shadow across the front element of your lens. Using Live View will help to ensure that it doesn’t appear in the shot.
When shooting into the sun in misty conditions it is likely that you will need to control the contrast in the scene, either using graduated ND filters or by merging several different exposures of the same scene as in HDR.
Contrast has been increased in post-production
Take your time
The difference of temperature between the inside of your bag and the environment around you is usually quite high in a foggy day.
What does it mean?
Your lens will have condensation on top, once you take your camera out. It will disappear, just give few minutes. Do not start touching your lens or clean it, it will be a never ending exercise 😉
Colour or black & white
It is always very hard to make a decision with a foggy/misty photo. Should I post process it in B&W or keep the colours.
As expected colours will pop up as most of the photo will be whitish. Try to include just one colour and you will have a good balance. In this way the human eye will concentrate on just one variation and it will not be distracted by multiple colours, loosing as well the romantic and mysterious background
The green of the grass is the only variation in the above photo
Do you live or planning to come to Melbourne?
The best spot is the Dandenong Ranges, around 45 minutes from the city. Go there in the early morning, best in spring and autumn.