Top 6 tips for autumn fog

Fall is coming back. The attentive photographer will remember that it’s time to start expecting mist and fog. These are creating excellent conditions for interesting photographs.

Shanghai morning
Copyright Yves Roumazeilles

  1. When? Fog does not appear in any weather conditions but it is relatively predictable. More or less, for a misty morning, you will need to have a relatively warm day before with a cold night without wind. Fog will tend to accumulate in the depressions (like a valley) which will favor night radiation fog and coastal areas will often have a good source of water vapor and a good potential for heat loss over ground.
  2. How? Use the light histogram to “shoot at right” or “expose at right”. It’s a fact that the camera will tend to under-expose the picture to try and get a medium grey image while the reality that you want to catch is rather white. In some case, you will probably use a preset over-exposure of 1 EV or 1.5 EV.
  3. Back-light: Even if you do not easily see the sun, favor the “back-lit” orientation.
  4. brouillard
    Creative Commons License photo credit: 1suisse
  5. Silhouettes: Fog is the occasion to sharply cut the silhouettes on a clear background.
  6. Surfaces: Mist will tend to draw clear-cut surfaces on the different planes of the picture.
  7. Rays: As soon as the sun starts to be available and starts to pierce the last strands of mist, watch for the moment when light rays will appear in the landscape.