Don’t Wait for the Sun


Driving to work today in the thick New England fog inspired me to write this post.  I’ve spoken with many people getting into photography about what they’re shooting and a common theme is that if the sun isn’t out, it’s not worth going outside with the camera.  After all, who want’s pictures of crappy weather?

Well your camera sees things differently than your eyes do – a cloudy day to a you and me is a 5 mile wide Soft Box to a camera – providing soft, diffused light.  Ironically, bright afternoon sun typically produces the most unflattering pictures.  Harsh, bright light does very little for landscapes or faces.

A foggy day presents a unique shooting experience!  It’s like someone draped out a 1,000 square backdrop to shoot your subjects against.  Then there’s just the plain beauty of items disappearing into the fog.  It can add a very powerful element to a photograph.

Fog allows you to “dissolve” the background without any help from the camera.  I passed a graveyard this morning that looked amazing and regretted not having my gear in the car.  I grabbed some of these shots on a miserable day lake side in NH.. cold, misting, foggy.. but I went out and sat on the dock with my camera.  I was amazed how much the fog lifts and changes in a short period of time.. not enough to notice with the bare eye, but scrolling through pictures taken over just 5 minutes produced very different results.

Similarly, while in Washington last summer, we got to the peak on Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park and the typical view to the ocean was obscured by clouds.  Yet this led to a more dramatic landscape than if I simply had bright blue skies.

So my point is.. Don’t wait for a bright sunny day to go out and take photos!  Foggy days can be a lot more fun if you’re running around with a camera.

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