Word and Image

Fog

Stirling Castle

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More fog. The effect can be ethereal. Once upon a time I could not conceive that a photo in fog could be good. How do you focus in the mist? You don’t. And, the effect though unpredictable can be quite unexpected and surprising. It works for me.


Painterly

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Pointillism. It’s noise. Technically there is too much noise from the digital sensor. You can Photoshop. But, for the most part that would be more work. I like fog. It’s hard to photograph. But it does give a dramatic and different effect. Then there is timing. The early morning light changes quickly. Don’t give up; keep at it; things are sure to change if you wait a few more seconds.

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Fog

Rain had just fallen. We missed the thunderstorm. It was ahead of us. We caught the remnant as we traveled through. There was fog on the mountains. You drive a lot. You don’t see fog very frequently from the road. At least, it is a rarity for me. Layers. I remember watching layers of mountains while in the car as a kid. I recall the Blue Ridge mountains? Clouds? Layers of mountains? I’ve seen it since. They are always fun.


Fog

The funny thing is that less than half a mile away on US 1 it was bright and sunny. We went down to say “Hello” to the ocean. I haven’t really realized how much this means to me until now. Thanks.

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And there was fog. It’s like London without the crowds. Okay, so don’t fall down laughing. I can’t think of another analogy. But, it’s neat. I’m glad we went.

 


Fog and Rain

Cool stuff. It’s hard to photograph. Harder, yet, if you are in a moving car. We had a “white knuckle” ride. At the last service check the tech told us the tires were due to be changed. The passenger in the “shotgun” seat had it in her head that we were riding on “slicks.” I was told to get off at each and every exit and get tires, “Right now!” The rain stopped. We got tires two days later. All is at peace with the world again. It was the wind blowing and causing us to “fishtail” down the road. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ with it!

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Yeah, I coolly shot out the windshield between the drops whilst driving down the road. Don’t say nothin’!!


Sweat

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Street photography – you don’t aim or compose, you just press the shutter. The idea is to catch spontaneity. It’s mostly because you are afraid or shy to ask to take a picture. Or you are afraid to have an angry objection. And if you are in a foreign place it is wise to be discrete. Auto focus! It works. Aim in the general direction of your subject. Hope for the best. At night I use auto ISO and shutter speed 1/125. Otherwise things will be blurred. They tend to be. So I try to lessen the error.

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I had an errand to do in the old city. It’s September and still hot as blazes. The humidity is high. And still, it does not rain. You go out only at night. Daytime is instant meltdown. I live in A/C. My villa has never seen the A/C off in four years. Power outages are very rare. Once it lasted for more than an hour and my friend left to go to a hotel. He did not tolerate heat. Wuss! Well, me too. But for some reason we were on different circuits and my power was on. No, he did not want to stay in my messy villa. As soon as I exited the air conditioned car my camera lens fogged up. I did not realize it. So for a moment, until I checked, everything was fogged. It was an interesting effect. And the shot I could not get… the man in the chair had sweat dripping from the tip of his nose. Sorry. Couldn’t get that. It’s street photography! There are shots I saw that will ever be on my mind. I missed it. But I saw it. If you didn’t get it, you didn’t see it. But I did. Like the eggs. Some days you are in the right place at the right moment. And just a bit later on, you miss. Yes, a drop of sweat, right on the tip of his nose. “Plain as the tip of your nose.” Missed!


Black Eyed Susan

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This, too, was an evening shot. The blue cast and the soft focus is a contrast to my usual preference for bright sunshine and rich color. Yes a little fog goes a long way. It’s the same time frame as the foggy lighthouses.


Portland Head Light

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More fog – sometimes you just can’t make this stuff up. Fog is special. Most folks aren’t out and about in this weather condition. But this is pretty much the reason for lighthouses, eh?

Different perspective changes the mood. I caught the beam of light. Somehow the angle of the beam is not what I wanted. And I wonder that modern GPS navigation must make it a lot easier than to try to see a lighthouse in dense fog.

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Bug Light

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It’s known as the Portland bug light or the breakwater light. Fog – and it was evening. I got my money’s worth from the spiffy f2.8 lens. My shots were decent. Clarity was not the goal and the overall softness of the image works. The breakwater is a fair hike. And in near darkness over uneven rocks this was a bit of a challenge. The trip back was the more interesting walk.

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Night Fog

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This was a hand held shot. With fog I am not sure a tripod would have added much more detail. Digital is so forgiving. You can get a shot at night with the ISO freely adjusted. Noise starts to become an issue. There is more fuzziness. But if you are not too nuts the fuzziness works. This shot would not have been easy with film. Here the immediate feedback allows for adjustments. That is a big plus and increases the chance your image will be satisfactory


Schoodic Point

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I have been to this spot several times. The first was on a bike trip with Lisa. She shot this picture. We had started off in sunny weather. As we rode into the point, the fog and weather were impressively picturesque. Lisa shot this as I am the subject in yellow. Misty, foggy, windy, and chilly all come to mind. It was a classic mood shot. More recently Colleen and I were there. It was a crisp chill clear autumn day. Same spot different day, you could never imagine how it changed. Things are like that. When you travel, you never know what you will come across. And you are not there long enough to wait for changes to be favorable. The sunset you see is where you are. I’d like to be just camped in a spot waiting for a picture. But that is simply not I. So I will take what there is when I am there. And there will always be a different good shot somewhere.

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Life’s Journey

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I recall this photograph. It’s a life lesson. The circumstance – on my way to see the puffins in God only know where, Maine. I had just purchased a brand new spiffy Nikon D200. It was the first event. I had to go from Lewiston to Cutler to pick up the ferry to the puffin island. I calculated a start out time of 3AM to get to the ferry by 6:30AM. It meant zipping up to Bangor on I-95. You can drive fast at that hour. Right off the exit ramp in Bangor I was stopped for speeding. Out of the complete darkness, the flashing patrol car lights caught me. When I told the fireplug short female state trooper I was headed to see the puffins, she ran my plates and then let me go with a warning. A nutcase from NY going to see birds shouldn’t receive a penalty if he’s already nuts. I have now driven to try to see the puffins three times. This time and the next were a complete bust. I saw better pictures in the travel brochure than I got with my new camera. We never got close enough but to see a dot on the water or in the sky.

After Bangor the road is smaller and winds eastward toward the coast. I was tooling along at as fast a pace as the deserted road would allow. Meanwhile I was hyper-attentive in anticipation of the birding. At the early glow of dawn I looked out over a fog covered valley as the sun was beginning to rise. Sunrise is rarely a time I am awake unless I am in an OR with an emergency.

I was running late. But I had to stop for this shot. The digital camera compensated for an impossible lighting scene. This was the shot of my day! It happened before my day ever began and I never knew it till much later. In fact it was a shot of significance. Thinking back and looking over many images I have taken before and since, I can make an observation.

Life happens quickly. I’m not the first to comment on this fact. But sometimes a special moment happens and you don’t know it. Later when you have time to pause and rewind the video – I play back some of the events of my life and finally realize how special this moment was. I knew this was a special shot right from the moment I pressed the shutter. But I was rushing to another event I thought was more important. It turned out that the moment of import was before me as the dawn rose over the fog in the valley. Well I was fortunate to preserve the moment to look back upon. My only regret is that I did not stop to realize it had been one of life’s special moments of which we experience so few in our lifetimes. It is not the first time I have done this nor will it be the last. But if I ever recognize such a moment again I hope I will sit back to savor it.


Runaround Pond

_DSC1635 copyIt was a park of sorts near to where I lived at one point. I would bring a book and read for hours. And when autumn came there was a magical time when photo ops were everywhere. All the elements came together – fog, reflection, and fall colors.


Boothbay

_DSC1462 copyShots like this are easy to see along the Maine coast. All the elements are in place lobster boat, lobster traps, and some fog. The muted light casts a mood of peace. Having been to this spot in the past I successfully returned to catch the mood in different light. It works.


Potland Bug Light

_DSC1332 copyI’m spinning my archive. The good thing about living in Maine for a while is that you got to visit lighthouses in inclement weather. Fog is always a hard subject. The other element is the light itself. Then to blend soft light and focused detail is harder yet. I let the camera figure out the exposure. I just fixed the compositional elements. In that instant I got the shot I wanted. It’s good.


Local Lighthouse, Portland

_DSC1034There is a distinct advantage to having a local lighthouse to visit. While I was in Maine I took advantage of the less than sunny days to visit the Portland lighthouse. Fog, snow, and rain became part of the inventory of interesting images. I always saw tourists in a hurry, drive up, photograph the lighthouse, hop in the car, and drive away again. I never even had the chance to point out the best show was at their feet in the reflections of the tidal pools on the rocks below. On the days when the reflection was sharp because the wind was still, you got that signature shot everyone looks to get.

_DSC1019I’m not one to camp out and wait for sunset, or to wait hours upon hours for the clouds to arrange themselves for my image. And I’m not a fan of changing things in Photoshop. I prefer drive by shooting. Hey, it works for me. I can appreciate some images that were made by others who toiled and waited…. just not me.

_DSC1021If you just look down at the tidal pools, there’s a reflection to reward you. On a sunny day a polarizing filter will get you a more distinct image. Either way try to break out of the typical tourist mode and get something different.


Fog

1817 31 MaineParaphrasing what Forest Gump said, ‘(fog) is like a box of chocolate. You never know what you’re gonna get.’ It is such a subtle thing to shoot fog. Like rainbows the effect is ephemeral. And back when it was film, you would not know what you had until the moment was long gone. As a kid I rode to have transportation around the neighborhood. At this point in my life it was for the scenery that changed faster than running. And later biking would be for fitness. We were on our one and only guided bike tour in Maine. The kids were dropped off in camp. And here was that foggy morning….Lubec, Maine.


Runaround Pond

 

_DSC1635 copyI had a magical autumn in Maine in 2008. For me most of my fall images came from Bear Mountain New York. I crisscrossed the back roads and put a lot of mile on the old wagon. When I look back in retrospect it was a time never to be repeated. I had fog, clouds, sun, water, reflections and just about anything and everything I could imagine. I’d say that I have not had a better experience and I wistfully think how fortunate I was to be there to take these images.

Runaround Pond was my go-to spot. It was peaceful and it was a great place to put up your feet and read. In autumn I was rewarded with fog and reflections. Fog is so hard to conjure and it is an ephemeral moment like sunset never to be duplicated. There may be many days like it but never the same as the one I shot.


Maine Fog

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Sometimes you never know how things will come out. I was pleasantly surprised to get the lighthouse detail of this shot in the early morning fog. We were in Lubec, Maine and I’m shooting to the Canadian side lighthouse. It has that little red crest that they like in Canada. The shot is too centered. My bad, I’m still an amateur at that time. It’s film not digital, so there’s no way to know whether the shot is good until much later. I look at the old shots and am pretty amazed to have such nice slides. I really trusted to luck back then. There was some skill, I suppose. To me it was like conducting a photo experiment. The results would come back months later. You needed a lot of patience. In those days I was already developing my own slides. So I would shoot enough to make it worthwhile to mix up a batch of solution – usually about 60 rolls. That could take about half a year. As I said I was patient… and careful. You have to hold the water temperature to 100 degrees plus or minus a tenth of a degree. Yes, I did it… nerve wracking but I did it.


Bergen, Norway

So after the party… I’m on my own. I didn’t want to impose upon Harald with so many guests and family still about. My traveling companion south was Kristina (that blonde) and she filled me in on some of the Scandinavian life… like how to tell if a woman was Danish, Norwegian, or Swedish. I was wrong every guess. But I think she set me up. I dropped her in the airport in Oslo and continued west to Bergan. Without accurately knowing the km conversion from mph, I was driving way to fast on the narrow roads. Arriving late into Bergan, I took a likely room. My view to the water and early morning fog was priceless.


Dogwood Blossoms

We have a back yard with flowering trees. The early morning fog softly muted the pink and white dogwood flowers. Near enough to the ocean we often have fog present into mid morning before the sun finally breaks through. There’s something soothing to awaken to muted colors.


Schoodic Point

I love this shot. My wife took it. She’s really good, but just doesn’t want to shoot often. Here’s a winner. She took it of me while we were on our unguided bike tour in Maine. At Schoodic Point the waves were breaking and the fog thick. Nice atmosphere. Yes it was wet and misty. You can’t take this picture if the camera is protected in your bag.


Lighthouse Fog

Lubec, Maine. Looking across a narrow body of water from Maine – bay or river, you are actually looking at Canada. Lighthouses look just a little different there. It’s Campobello Island, famous mainly as a retreat of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Fog is tricky thing to photograph. Surprising to me is the amount of detail retained in the image. This was a slide taken many years ago during the same memorable bicycle trip. It’s early morning, just as the sun is beginning to burn away the fog. The soft pastels of color and the detail of the lighthouse are an event not easily recreated.


Fall Fog, Runaround Pond

It’s autumn in Maine at one of my favorite spots, Runaround Pond. Just before dusk I was headed west on my way back from somewhere else. Evening fog was just settling in as the light was fading. There were several other people taking photos. I didn’t have a tripod but still managed some good shots. There could have been a little more detail in the sky. I like the saturation of the leaves as the fog settles over the lake/pond.

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