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Morning Fog and Lupine

Posted by
Don Smith (California, United States) on 6 April 2009 in Landscape & Rural.

I love making images in the fog. Living in close proximity to the Pacific Ocean, morning fog tends to make its presence more and more as the summer months approach. Recently I awoke to a calm, foggy morning, a green-light situation for photos. Galen Rowell used to talk about getting near edges in nature. I decided to heed his advice and drove along this country road as it wound its way up from the valley floor in hopes of finding the edge of the fog bank. As I neared the edge, the light began to paint the mountainside with beautiful soft diffused morning light, which in turn allowed the green hillsides to have a strong luminescent glow .

This patch of lupine was actually growing alongside the road, and it added the contrast in color to the green hillsides that I was seeking. I took my camera off the tripod and moved around until I found my composition; I then brought the tripod in to match my vision. Too many times I feel we all get a bit lazy and we extend the tripod legs fully so we can stand upright. Many times the most interesting foregrounds go unnoticed near our feet.

For this image, I used my 16-35mmL at f/16, and the camera (and me) were all of 12 inches off the ground. I used a Singh-Ray 2-stop hard edged split neutral density filter along the angle of the ridge to hold back the exposure of the foggy sky. I decided to dial up my ISO to 400 in order to gain a stop of shutter speed as a slight breeze was beginning to kick up. I purposely placed the main lupine stalk in the strong 1/3 position in my frame to add visual tension.

Adding foregrounds to your images not only makes the image more interesting, but it helps create a sense of depth allowing your viewers eye to wander up and through the image. The fence line helped by creating a diagonal line that leads to the other slightly less diagonal of the ridge line, with the oak tree intentionally place in the upper left position as an intersection point for both lines.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III 1/13 second F/16.0 ISO 400 24 mm

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