As Autumn deepens, it’s increasingly likely your photographic jaunts will encounter mist and fog, particularly should you explore coastline or high ground early in the morning.
Safety considerations aside (but do allow for them), don’t be discouraged - as I have known many to be – by the lack of visibility before you. Such conditions enable the opportunity to capture subjects amid beautifully soft light, and in a manner whereby background distractions are seemingly magically removed. Now is the time to capitalise on those small windows when it’s possible to isolate desirable elements of a scene from their ugly neighbours, creating relatively minimal compositions that just aren’t possible at any other time. It can be a little daunting at first to know where to begin, so it’s worth keeping a list of locations visited throughout the year that might benefit the situation. If you have the luck of an accurate weather forecast and are fully prepared, then a good list and forward planning will save you regretting your picture choices later.
Contrasts are softened in such atmospherics, so take care when metering – positive exposure compensation will help reduce the risk of under exposure associated with fog’s luminescent/reflective qualities. Depending how thickly the landscape’s enveloped, you may also find AF systems struggle, hence using manual focus (perhaps combined with live-view if available) may assist. A microfibre cloth is essential in removing moisture from your lens and any filters, as is a map and compass should you journey far from the beaten track.
Finally, be quick! Weather like this seldom hangs around for long, and can disperse fleetingly within mere minutes. A good photograph captured in mist is a joy, and while you might wish for more frequent opportunities, well, that might just spoil the fun.
Read this article, and many more, in High Definition, inside Issue 34 of Landscape Photography Magazine.