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Magically misty photos

Light falling on mist, fog, and virga adds different moods and textures to the landscape, and the hues and tonal contrasts change with whatever light is in the atmosphere.

misty morning These sun shafts on the mist at the bottom of the falls came from the light passing through trees that didn’t have any leaves on their branches.
22mm | ISO 100 | 1/6 second at ƒ/25
Virga is the term for precipitation that evaporates before it reaches the ground. During the day virga show up as grey wispy patches below the clouds, and add a softness to the sky. With low-angle light at sunrise or sunset, virga can light up with a wonderful diffuse glow, adding a unique character to the rest of the sky.
misty morning photography 32mm | ISO 200 | 1/4 second at ƒ/11
Varying the length of the exposure helps determine the mood of a misty shot, with shorter exposures picking up more definition and detail, and longer exposures further softening the mist, fog, and cloud details. The longer the exposure, the fewer details there are, until with 20–30 second exposures or longer the mist or fog becomes a gentle wash across the landscape. Be sure to wait patiently as the drama of a sunset unfolds across a scene. You might have the opportunity to witness the entire sky washed in various shades of pink and red as the evening light reflects off many different textures of clouds and patches of virga, along with enough moisture falling for a beautiful rainbow to form, too.
50mm | ISO 200 | 6 seconds at ƒ/10 50mm | ISO 200 | 6 seconds at ƒ/10
You might find that your tendency in these situations is to set up photos to stop the action, but it’s fun to experiment with longer exposure times for completely different effects. Exposures for foggy scenes are best with about 1 stop overexposure to create the same amount of brightness as we perceive. Experiment with ND or polariser filters for longer exposure times and to play with tonal effects.
101 Top Tips for Landscape Photography is where professional landscape guru Carl Heilman II gives the benefit of a lifetime spent shooting spectacular wilderness and mountain shots, offering a host of targeted tips and tricks that will allow photographers of all abilities to lift their landscape work to the next level. The reader will learn how to harness natural drama, use difficult lighting situations to your advantage and capture unusual perspectives, all the while benefiting from Carl’s clear instruction and beautiful landscape work.

101 Top Tips for Landscape Photography, Carl Heilmann II101 Top Tips for Landscape Photography
Carl Heilman II

 
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