Verde River, Camp Verde, Arizona, USA by Lawrence Gallagher

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Picture Story

Living in the state of Arizona in the USA there are limited opportunities to create images with mist. This is because of the arid desert climate of central and southern Arizona. Even in the higher elevations of northern Arizona, misty mornings are few and far between. There are few rivers or other large bodies of water in much of the state. Only two rivers flow year round: the Colorado and Verde.

I have been watching the Verde, trying to understand when fog is most likely. After much reading and observing the river across the seasons I realized that it takes a special combination of conditions to produce a misty scene. This particular November morning all the conditions were right, and there was a remnant of late fall color in the ash and sycamore trees lining the river banks. I checked my weather sites in the darkness of the early morning before first light. The humidity was 75%, and the dew point and temperature were very close just before dawn and for about an hour after sunrise. Seeing this I grabbed my tripod and camera, found a spot on the river bank just as it started getting light.

I took a number of exposures of the woodland across the river. It became clear that intimate shots were going to be the best. Using my telephoto zoom I was able to narrow the scene and focus on a particularly colorful portion of the opposite shoreline. As the sun just cleared the cliffs the light began to bathe the foggy woodland, providing a nice warm/cool contrast. The snag in the lower right corner unified the composition adding a little foreground interest. Within 30 minutes the fog dissipated. The scene was gone, relegated to a few photos and an enduring memory.

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