Jeff Smallwood Photography
Cutting Through the Morning Haze
Oct 24, 2011

Woke up one morning last week, looked out the door through the back yard just as the light was coming up and noticed a thin layer of fog had settled about 30-40 feet above the ground. The air was mostly still but if you stared at the fog layer long enough you could see there was a gentle flow to it, coming out of the trees and across the field.  My mind instantly prioritized and things like work, shower, and breakfast fell to a distant second place behind "photography".

What else could I do?  I mean, you gotta strike while the iron is hot, right?

With my PJs still on, I ran to the back room, grabbed the camera bag and tripod, strapped on shoes, and prepared to walk out the back door when my wife came in the sunroom. She had heard me making a little racket and now looked at me, with my big black camera bag out, hair and clothes a mess, old raggedy shoes on, just standing there.

The next moment proceeded as follows: "What are you do....", she stopped speaking mid-sentence, took a glimpse out the back door, gave me a look and a slight roll of the eyes, and said "Oh, jeez. Are you going to be out there very long?"

I think she knows me by now :)

I ran out to the field behind my house, PJs getting wet from the morning dew and picking up some hitchhikers along the way. The fog was thick enough to see alright but I was too far below it to get decent contrast against the trees. I was chimping and could tell my first few shots just didn't come out right. The colors of sunrise were already starting to fade and I knew it wouldn't be long before the scene was gone for good. So I ran around the field adjacent to our property (conscious not to trample the crop), and up behind the farmhouse. The farmhouse sits on a hill and I was hoping the vantage point from there would be better (I've captured other shots of this barn from the same general location). Sure enough from the top of the hill I could see down into the field on the other side and I was now almost parallel to the fog. Just right for capturing how distinct the layer was without loosing it to the sunlight and colors in the sky.

The shot above is a composite made from two images taken 2 stops apart. If I'd have had a GND filter on I might have been able to do it with one but no luck. The original was mighty crooked too (that's what happens when I shoot hastily). I stiched the two shots together (one for sky, one for trees and below), a little noise reduction, boosted the structure in the clouds to make them pop a little more and finished with a touch of vibrance and saturation to match what I experienced with my own eyes. All work done from the RAW files and exported to the JPG at the very end.

Not the most spectacular photo, but something that has a little story behind it. And to me, those are the best photos of all

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