Photography in Fog or Poor Visibility - Hints and Tips Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Photography in Fog or Poor Visibility - Hints and Tips

1 Conversation

Digital Cameras
Digital Pocket Camera | Digital Bridge Camera | Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera | Digital Camera Lenses
Sunsets and why we see the Colours - a Photographer's View | Hints and Tips From the H2G2 Photographers | Photography in Fog or Poor Visibility
A Hilltop House on a Foggy Day

There are times when the weather is not too kind and you have to deal with poor visibility when out taking photographs. What do you do? Well, as someone once said: Don't Panic!

Hopefully this short Entry will give you some ideas of how to cope with low cloud, mist, smoke, or a foggy day. And the tips work regardless of camera type or experience level.

Fog Can Give You Some Interesting Opportunities

There is no doubt that fog can be a problem - it is translucent and masks fine detail, giving photographs a cold feel. However, there are some ways to get creative and strangely beautiful photographic results in foggy conditions.

Most of the photographs in this Entry were taken on a foggy day in a hilltop town.

There Are Some Interesting Lighting Effects

The thing that fog will not do is improve wide angle photography when you want to capture objects in the distance. However, it can challenge your imagination instead. There are also some advantages. One benefit is it provides an interesting filter for the Sun. The photo below left shows how the detail and texture of the backlit clouds and fog create horizontal strata in the image. The halo effect around the sun is also useful in providing excellent soft backlighting as in the photo below right.

Two trees with a hazy sun behind themTrees in the sun with a halo effect in fog

Now Try Facing Away From The Sun

Don't just concentrate on the effects provided by the light from the Sun - there are some other interesting lighting effects to try. If you get closer to your subjects and turn your back to the sun you will also get some surprising results.

A road fading into the fogA wall, trees and houses fading into the fog

In the two photos above, the haze has softened the background and enhanced the depth of field by gradually muting the colours as they recede into the distance. This effect, although very subtle, creates layers and gives a wonderful feeling of depth, as well as an ethereal look to the background.

As you get closer to your subject, as in the photo below left, the depth effect is reduced but haze will still mute the colours as they recede into the background. In the photo below right, the effect is more apparent in comparison with the railings and hedge in the foreground.

A house with muted colours in the fogA layered image with railings, a hedge and houses fading into the fog


The main thing to remember is that fog, mist or low cloud and even a dust storm can provide some excellent opportunities for creative photography. However, in conditions of extreme wet weather, or if windblown dust is involved, you are strongly advised to protect your camera. Even if you just put your camera in a transparent plastic bag, gather the bag around the front of the lens and secure it with elastic bands, then put an inexpensive clear filter on the lens. That should give ample short term protection1.

And the best part is that all these effects are available to you without any extra accessories such as expensive filters or flash2. Perhaps the best thing is that fog or haze gives you another new aspect of photography to explore. You will not encounter these conditions every day but you are likely to be surprised by how many opportunities you will have to use the advice in this Entry. Fog over the Humber

1Remember to put the bag on the camera at home in a warm room, and take the bag off immediately after the shoot. If you don't you run the risk of trapping moisture in the bag - cameras do not thrive in damp!2If you have filters or flash, defiantly use them when you can - experiments are a big part of learning photography and new equipment offers you more opportunities for tests.

Bookmark on your Personal Space

Edited Entry


Infinite Improbability Drive

Infinite Improbability Drive

Read a random Edited Entry

Categorised In:

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more