November 08, 2016

Great, Gray Blankets: Shooting Foggy Landscapes

Words : Erica Simas

Every fall, temperatures start to drop, and great, gray blankets of fog stretch across valleys and fields. And every fall, landscape photographers hike, climb, and wake up early to witness the magic. There are different ways to use fog to your advantage in photographs, but when it comes to landscape photography, fog can give your image more depth, mood, and perception.

Its mystique is appreciated throughout the Instagram community, evidenced by the high engagement rates you see on #chasingfog. Here are some of our favorite Instagrammers that capture foggy landscapes that will inspire you to go chase some yourself!





Creating Natural Backdrops

Stella has a magical touch in using fog to create natural backdrops to her subjects. Her use of highlights and pastel colors gives her photos a dream-like presence. She recommends checking the weather for foggy mornings and having a list of places in mind to shoot. “Of course it’s all about selecting the right spot and getting up very early in the morning. It also takes a lot of patience to wait for the right moment when the sun, jogger, biker etc, lines up perfectly with the fog.” – @stellafotografie










Adding Mystery

Sam’s feed looks like it’s compiled with posters from suspense films. Her eerie use of fog where she lives draws you in the most curious ways. We love her use of silhouettes in the fog, which really give scale to the landscape around them. Sam suggests taking photos in the early mornings when the light is perfect. “The fog makes everything more beautiful and mysterious without the need to even edit” – @samfiore72








Learn To Underexpose

Whether Rob is travelling the globe or hanging in Chicago, he truly knows how to utilize fog’s natural elements in his photos. Rob suggests underexposing your images just a bit for the best results. “I guess best time to shoot fog is before sunrise, and I tend to underexpose the image so that the highlights aren’t clipping. With the highlights of the fog being underexposed, it allows more creative freedom to pop them out in post process.” – @rob.sese









Visit Coasts and Mountains

Portland based photographer, Alex Bailey definitely takes advantage of all moody, PNW weather. A brilliant combination of landscape and wildlife, Alex’s feed will fuel your inner wanderlust in an instant. Alex recommends hitting up the coast on early mornings or going high above the clouds. “The best fog that I come across tends to be up in higher elevations or over along the coast. I’m fortunate enough to be in Oregon and have such easy access to both of those landscapes.” – @alexbaileypdx









Enhance Depth

West Coast photographer Matt Gee takes full advantage of fog to add depth into his images and encourages you to experiment with foggy conditions to see how it changes perception of the photograph. “Fog is one of those ‘x-factors’ that can give your images a greater sense of depth and dimensionality. It can quickly turn a normal, boring landscape into something mysterious where what isn’t seen is almost as important as what is. If a location is prone to foggy conditions, try shooting it in both circumstances to see the difference.” – @mattbg











Diffuse Light

Chris uses fog to evoke emotion and provide a serene atmosphere to his subjects when he’s out exploring. “I like to incorporate people in a lot of my landscape photos which often means wide shots with a ton of light falling across the scene. Shooting in fog not only softens the light but also helps to separate the person from the background so the eye finds its focus easier” – @chriskpickens




A post shared by Joe Lee (@joeleephotos) on May 9, 2016 at 10:36pm PDT

Aerial For New Angles

Joe uses aerial drone photography to capture different perspectives of fog and how it moves through the atmosphere over time. “Using the DJI Phantom 3 Pro I was able to capture this aerial view over the fog. It is really important to check beforehand how strong the wind will be in the area you will be flying in. Look for leading lines to draw the viewer into the image, compose so there is a nice contrast between the fog and landscape, and play around with flying at different heights to capture unique perspectives” – @joeleephotos





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