21 Nov When Life Hands You Fog, Make… Fog-ade
Mid-late October was a foggy one around here in Tacoma. It was a thick fog that just never really went away for the better part of a week. Much like an overcast day, fog typically produces some pretty bland, grey photos without any lighting intervention. I had a handful of shoots that week and hoped to get some sun mixed in with those fantastic fall colors, but… nope. It’s not all bad, you can get a glowiness quality. And I’m sure all them hipsters out there loved it, the fog killing every last pixel of vibrancy and shape-defining contrast, no instagram filter needed! Any who…
Along with all the challenges fog may pose, it can produce imagery that you wouldn’t be able to get otherwise. When light is traveling through the air you can’t see it, that is unless it is striking and reflecting off of something to then bend the light into your eye (or in this case, a camera). It’s the only reason why you would see me if I was standing in front of you, because light is striking me and reflecting into your eye (I know, I’m blowing your minds here). This process works exactly the same for even very small particles floating in the air. So when smoke, or heavy moisture in the air (fog) is getting struck by light and reflected, it reveals the light paths as it travels through the bank of our mystery particles. It’s the reason why old barns look super cool when light is coming in, striking an abundance of dust particles and creating those jets of golden goodness.
At the end of that foggy week, I was driving home mulling over the fact that the sun never came out to have fun that week to produce those golden light rays of goodness. Enter me getting home late at night, telling Alice to toss on a dress and informing her that I’ll be asking her to stand out in the dark for an extended period of time. Fast forward 30 minutes and we are unpacking light gear in the middle of a city park, completely black out. We needed flashlights just to see where we were walking. The fog was thick. By the time we were halfway setup the equipment was already dripping wet.
Mid-October, 10pm, Alice is standing in the dark park in just a dress. Trooper. The park is surrounded by residential blocks, so I’m guessing we had a few viewers wondering why there was a lightening storm taking place at the local park. I’d imagine it did look pretty cool. Pitch black to a split second of Alice and I lit-up in the fog, and then black again. “No, Baby Boomers, you are not reliving a bad 70’s acid trip, just a couple of people making photos.”
The test shot below is a good illustration of the darkness we were in. Cold, wet, and ready to get home – both us and the gear, we quickly made our good frames and got out of there to warm back up! A few minutes of both Alice and gear enduring the environment, but worth it for a nice glass of fog-ade.