Sonoma County, California, USA by Brenda Tharp

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Picture Story

It was a quite a wet week in terms of winter rain in northern California, and I was watching the weather carefully. I knew that when the weather began to clear, we'd have the potential for a lot of ground fog around the county, especially in areas near streams and rivers. Finally, the forecast was looking good for the next morning, and I drove to a watershed area known as Laguna di Santa Rosa, very near my home. It's an ephemeral lagoon when the Russian River overflows its banks. Although we hadn't had enough rain for that to occur, our ground was still saturated enough to get ground fog on a clear cool morning.

I rose early and drove out there to a favorite viewpoint, only to be completely engulfed in thick ground fog. I couldn't see anything! Yet the sky had been clear when I left home, so I knew it could be worth waiting until after sunrise to see what might happen. I had already mounted my telephoto lens on the tripod and was looking at different potential compositions. When the sun cleared the Mayacama Mountains to the east, it backlit the ground fog with a rich golden light, creating wonderful rays and tree shadows. I loved all the layers that showed in this scene. It was changing every few minutes, and I just kept capturing the mood. At one point the sun burned a hole thru the fog to create a spotlit area, and that became my favorite photograph of that morning.

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