Using Fog to Create Surreal River Images

Landscape photographers often use fog to help them create wonderful, moody images. You’ve likely seen one of those arresting photographs of a single tree shrouded by fog standing silently in a field.

NOTE: click on images to enlarge

NIKON D800 + TAMRON 15-30mm f/2.8 @ 15mm, ISO 400, 1/500, f/8.0
NIKON D800 + TAMRON 15-30mm f/2.8 @ 15mm, ISO 400, 1/500, f/8.0

We can use fog in our river and lake images to good effect as well. Under the right conditions heavy fog can look like it has melded with the surface of the water to create a surreal image where the shoreline, dock or a tree looks like it is in a suspended state.

NIKON D800 + TAMRON 15-30mm f/2.8 @ 30mm, ISO 400, 1/400, f/8.0
NIKON D800 + TAMRON 15-30mm f/2.8 @ 30mm, ISO 400, 1/400, f/8.0

Our eyes and minds usually try to interpret an image based on what we’ve seen in the past and when we have the opportunity to blur reality where water and fog form a seamless background it can produce some interesting effects.

NIKON D800 + 15-30mm f/2.8 @ TAMRON 15mm, ISO 400, 1/500, f/8.0
NIKON D800 + 15-30mm f/2.8 @ TAMRON 15mm, ISO 400, 1/500, f/8.0

Challenging a viewer with an altered sense of reality where the start and end of surfaces are unclear can create a unique kind of engagement.

NIKON D800 + TAMRON 15-30mm f/2.8 @ 27mm, ISO 400, 1/400, f/8.0
NIKON D800 + TAMRON 15-30mm f/2.8 @ 27mm, ISO 400, 1/400, f/8.0

The early spring and late fall are times of the year when nature gives us the best opportunities for these kinds of images since fog is most prevalent and the leaves are often off the trees. This helps create an eerie stillness in these types of images.

NIKON D800 + TAMRON 15-30mm f/2.8 @ 30mm, ISO 400, 1/500, f/8.0
NIKON D800 + TAMRON 15-30mm f/2.8 @ 30mm, ISO 400, 1/500, f/8.0

Using the ‘rule of thirds’ as in the above image can really accentuate the mood in these types of photographs.

All of the images in this article were taken with a Nikon D800 and the new Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 VC wide angle zoom lens.

This new lens from Tamron will be of special interest to landscape and real estate photographers. I’m in the early stages of preparing my hands-on review but so far I’ve really enjoyed shooting with this lens. Auto-focusing has been fast and accurate and the lens handles well. Like the Nikkor 16-35 f/4 the Tamron 15-30 f/2.8 features vibration control which should extend its hand-holding capability quite a bit.

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Article and images are Copyright Thomas Stirr. No use, duplication or adaptation is allowed without written permission.

5 thoughts on “Using Fog to Create Surreal River Images”

  1. Hi Thom
    Great subject, but my taste is more on B&W for photos with fog. Nikk Silver Efex Pro 2 would be a very nice plugin for them
    regards
    Luc

    1. Hi Luc,
      I have Silver Efex Pro2 but have never used it as I’m not really a fan of B&W. It is interesting that you mentioned that though as I was actually contemplating using some of those images from the article and playing around in Silver Efex to see what it could do…and perhaps using the results in a subsequent article.
      Tom

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