Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Foggy January Afternoon

On the face of it, going out with the camera on a foggy day might seem like a bit of an odd thing to do. How can we possibly photograph landscapes when we can barely see 50 feet in front of us?

However, fog has properties that allow us to capture objects and effects not usually possible under any other lighting conditions.

Take, for example, the sun. We’re always told it’s as dangerous and foolhardy to point our cameras at it, as it is for magnifying glasses, telescopes and people with ginger hair.

But as the sun struggles to cut through the fog, we can catch a rare glimpse without risking permanent damage to our eyes



Part of the mystery of fog is it seems to muddle the distinction between light and dark. It’s not night, and yet we still struggle to see clearly. Suddenly the ordinary takes on an extraordinary, ethereal quality.

A tree in a field is now silhouetted and soft, while the farmhouse behind it is barely visible at all



But where it comes into its own, to create effects like nothing else on earth, is when fog meets still water.

Out at Loch Ken – the same place Rogan, Meg and I were standing on 8 inches of ice only a couple of weeks ago - see Winter Snow and Ice - I felt I was on a border between worlds. All the old tales, myths and legends crowded in with the fog, and if I’d seen faerie folk coming out of the mist, somehow it wouldn’t have felt out of place.



The absolute stillness of the loch, creating mirror like reflections, when combined with the fog meant it was impossible to tell where the water finished and the mist began



Dead reeds and grasses appeared to float in mid air, strange shapes defying definition as the mind kept doing mental flips trying to make sense of what it was seeing



And isolated from their surrounds, the most beautiful shapes and patterns were formed. No longer recognisable objects, their forms had become abstracted.



Click on any of the images for larger versions




With apologies to Australian Katie who is still on dial-up. I hope it was worth the wait

49 comments:

Suz said...

Wow, I am honored to post the first comment. Usually you have so many, it's discouraging to add my two cents.

Your photographs are beautiful and your commentary is perfect. I love the fog ( not to drive in.) It has such a mystery about it.

Thank you for sharing your gifts.

Gillian said...

I love all these shots! they are beautiful. They remind me of a Jane Austin novel. So romantic and eerie as the same time.

You captured some really special moments in time there.

C in DC said...

These are just gorgeous. There really is something special about fog, isn't there?

Carole said...

Amazing, beautiful,and I feel like Jack the Ripper is right around the corner. Waiting...

Whitney Lee said...

Beautiful, of course.

Fog renders such a feeling of isolation, does it not?

Your description of the mystery of fog caught my attention; it can be somewhat a metaphor for life at times.

Thrup'ny bits said...

I like eerie effect fog has on sound, too.

This is the kind of weather that evokes Thomas Hardy for me.

Alan

Eryl Shields said...

I really like the last one, it could be huge sculpture by someone like Eva Rothschild or Louise Bourgeois, or a little pendant to wear on a chain with a green dress.

The top one reminds me of Sleepy Hollow, and I loved Sleepy Hollow.

thingy said...

How beautiful.

Wow.

Chocolatesa said...

Wow! We had some nice fog here yesterday too. I'll put the pictures up when I have time. I love fog!

Fay's Too said...

They are gorgeous and you are incredibly talented.

Helen said...

Hey Bearded One - just beautiful shots! Photos of fog make me want to gad around in some long, floaty dress meeting my secret lover in the hush under a tree. (Think I shall go and read a Kate Morton novel immediately....)
The shot of the reeds make me think of an abstract artist gone slightly mad with paints in squeezie bottles.
Nature and it's shapes and the feelings/emotions/images it provokes is quite amazing isn't it.

savannah said...

wow! ;~D fog on the marsh here is scary!! i'll have to venture out on the next foggy night! xoxox

Midnitefyrfly said...

wow! those are some amazing shots! What kind of camera were they taken with? you have quite the eye for photography, Kim!

Pat said...

Fog and moonlight and lochs and leaves - a wealth of riches which needs an arist's eye to do them justice and share. I know it's late and my key board is playing tricks. Nightie night.

talesNtypos said...

That second picture, it's so still and inaudible. For me, it induces sadness. :(

Jayne Martin said...

Magnificent. What a gift you have. Thank you for sharing it with us.

litzi said...

These photographs are beautiful and ethereal; you’ve managed to capture the essence of the landscape with your lens. Thanks for sharing them!

Jacqui said...

Beautiful photos. I think a couple would make wickedly, difficult jig-saws! Especially , the one of he silhouetted twig.

Anez said...

Beautiful.... and to think these things would have gone uncaptured unknown.....

Travel Bug said...

These photos definitely ignite my imagination... of fairies and goblins and creatures hiding in the mist. I wish Blogger had a "Like" button/symbol similar to that on facebook... I would click it for sure :)

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

Beautiful pictures, Kim. Did you ever understand that line from Dylan's "Just like a woman" about "her fog, her amphetamines and her pearls"? It could almost be about Mrs Pouncer, only it would have been barbiturates and cubic zirconia in her case.

Nitewrit said...

Kim,

Stunning pix. The last seems almost a signature by the artist. Always felt a bit the same about shooting in snowstorms or afterward.

Ron of the "Retired in Delaware" Blog took some nice photos of fog along the Strubble Trail where he use to live. Must ask him to post them sometime.

Larry

hackaday said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brenda Grolle said...

Those are beautiful. Thank you for sharing them with us.

Tiffin said...

Some of your shots are so Zen, like the close up of the fronds. We had fog here the other day and I was thinking just that thought about how everything gets changed and made so strange. There was a hill at the side of the road that I'd never really noticed before and suddenly it was made important by the fog.

Love this series of photos. Did your lens mist up?

hope said...

The first one is simply magical!

asmita said...

I agree with Suz, though I must admit I have had my share of being the first to comment.

As for the pics ... as always, they are simply awesome. My pick is the last one!

Kim Ayres said...

Suz - thank you for your kind words. And don't feel discouraged from commenting, just elbow your way through - everyone's pretty accommodating here :)

Gillian - A bit to chilly for Darcy to come striding out of the water...

C in DC - it does do wonderful things with light :)

Carole - nah, Jack the Ripper operated in the big city. Round here you're more likely to be torn apart by a pack of rabid hedgehogs...

Whitney Lee - gone are the days when the good guys wore the white hat and the bad guys wore the black...

Alan - when I was writing this, I was thinking about the effect fog has on sound. Unfortunately although I had the camera, I didn't have a sound recorder with me

Eryl - Maggie's favourite was the last one too. She also loved Sleepy Hollow - Johnny Depp...

Thingy - thank you :)

Chocolatesa - let me know when you do - I'm always interested to see other people's photography ideas :)

Fay - if you keep this up I'll have to label you my official ego massager

Helen - Photography can move on different levels - we start off with, "I was there and it looked like that" - but then we try and we try and move towards, "I was there and it felt like this". But where it gets really interesting is when we can abstract lines, form, colours and shapes and say, "It felt like this, even if you have no idea what you're actually looking at". Hmm, this has the feel of a blog post topic...

Savannah - it's scary so you'll go out in it at night???

Midnitefyrfly - It's a Fujifilm S100FS - I won it last year (see Smug Alert)

Pat - that's poetic - thank you :)

TalesNTypos - ((hugs))

Jayne - and thank you for your kind words :)

Litzi - and thank you for your kind words too :)

Jacqui - now there's an idea. What about a 5,000 piece of the 5th pic?

Anez - there are always incredible sights about if we care to look with the right eyes :)

Travel Bug - a comment from you is worth far more than a "like" click :)

Daphne - do I take it your most recent meeting with Mrs Pouncer was worthy of a tale then?

Nitewrit - give him a nudge about them :)

Hackaday - I have no idea why you just decided to leave a comment of my email address. Care to explain?

Brenda - thank you for your kind words :)

Tiffin - the lens was fine, it was more a fog than a mist

Hope - thank you :)

Asmita - That's my wife's favourite too :)

Claire said...

My daughter, at 17, spent three weeks in Edinburgh two summers ago. She is not a professional photographer, but she came home with the most beautiful pics. She said it wasn't difficult to do, since the landscape was exceedingly beautiful. You have captured that once again...all the more lovely in the mist.

Charlie said...

Wonderful photos as always, Kim. I think you said it best when you wrote, ethereal.

St Jude said...

Fabulous photos, I love the fog for just this reason, it completely changes to world.

Entrepreneur Chick said...

Is it redundant for me to tell you how talented you are?

I took some pictures of mallard ducks where I fish at the lake and after I viewed them on my computer I thought, well, I'm no Kim Ayres now am I?

Brave Astronaut said...

LOVE the one with the tree in the field! LOVE LOVE IT!

You are truly showing your talent as a photographer and we are all beneficiaries.

Claire said...

I wish to apologize for my previous comment which made it sound as though it was "easy" to take photos...it came out all wrong. I meant to compliment the beautiful nature in which you live and you captured it so well. Again, sorry.

Lisa Page Rosenberg said...

Lovely and peaceful and silent and eerie and damp and magic and all captured so beautifully.

Mimi and Tilly said...

Really beautiful, and unsettling, all at the same time. Thank you for sharing your work. Your recording on my blog is going down an absolute storm. I already have folk writing to tell me they have been listening each time they've been feeling fearful, and are loving the results.

Mary Witzl said...

I love fog too, and these photographs are just incredible. I especially like the last one of those red reeds bent over into their own reflections. And Suz is right: the commentary is perfect too.

Kim Ayres said...

Claire - of course it makes it easier to take a good photo, if there's a good subject, but it also helps if you have a sense of composition - you don't have to be a professional to be able to take a good photograph - I'm sure your daughter has some skill :)

Charlie - it certainly had that other-worldy feel to it :)

St Jude - it's always interesting when the familiar is transformed into the unfamiliar

Entrepreneur Chick - it's never redundant - my ego is an huge unfillable chasm, able to take as many compliments as you can throw at it :)

Brave Astronaut - aw, shucks...

Claire - no need to apologise :)

Lisa - thank you :)

Emma - thanks for letting me know the feedback you've been getting on that post - it's nice to know if someone's benefitting from something I've done :)

Mary - There are plenty of people who post images with no explanation, but I always find myself wanting to know a bit more of the back story, so it would be remiss of me to not write some kind of commentary to go with it :)

savannah said...

i'm nothing if not foolishly brave! xoxox

Helen Mac said...

Beautiful images Kim, thanks for sharing

Zlatica said...

Great photos with a deep feelings...
I just want to tell you that I have passed a blog award on you - see my last blog post.
Zlatica
http://pupaart.blogspot.com/

michael greenwell said...

great photos

i have travelled a fair bit as you know and every place has its majesty.

people talk about the mountains and lochs in scotland but the true beauty of scotland is in the sky and the light which just seem to be more striking than anywhere i have ever visited.

these obviously interact with the topography to spectacular effect.

you seem to catch it well in your photos.

the security word was "joyme" which i suppose these photos and this little discussion did.

thank you

Hindsfeet said...

love.

have been away for awhile and missed your writing...nice to be back, such refreshing reads.

A lot of blogs out there, I'm finding, are so WORDY and say nothing...

...breath of fresh air, this one.

Katie Roberts said...

These are stunning photos again Bearded One.

And so sweet of you to think of me again with my slow upload (I am thinking of broadband soon, you'll be relieved) It made me feel special in two ways. One, for your considerate thought. Two, that I must be the only person left in the world who is 'still' on dial-up! :)

Even though I did not spend hours viewing your larger images, I have the feeling we are seeing something rare here, the mind behind the camera. An innocent eye that sees the world as if they are seeing something for the first time.

Your pictures speak of the object and its reflection as whole, abstracted and symmetric. Visual scribbles and designs, natures atristic hand. Bridging the physical and the illusion, marrying the two.

I spouse the fog does that to ones mind!

Thanks you for letting us see it through your eyes, lens and mind.

Btw I was watching an Andy Goldsworthy video the other day (one of my favorite artists and a fellow resident of your land) and saw some more snow genies. Great minds :)

nella32000 said...

Absolutely beautiful Kim!

jackonius said...

I think I should also start taking interest in photography and pick up some tips from you!

Kim Ayres said...

Savannah - if you grew up in plaes where LA Gangs roamed, I'm sure you can probably handle yourself :)

Helen - thank you :)

Zlatica - thank you, I'll be over shortly :)

Michael - What is great about Scotland, and specifically this corner of Scotland is the sheer variety of landscapes (and weather) in such a small area. From sandy beaches to rocky coastlines, to lochs, mountains, glens, fields, forests, moorlands and urban environments all exist within half an hour's drive

Hindsfeet - welcome back, and thank you for your warm words :)

Katie - it occurs to me that as my blog posts automatically get imported into my Facebook page now, you might find it easier to view them from there so you don't ahve several posts to download at once.

Although I've not met him, Andy Goldsworthy is quite local to where I live, and I've always loved his work

Allen - thank you :)

Jackonius - if it has an appeal, then go for it :)

LegalMist said...

Awesome photos. We rarely get fog here in the desert Southwestern U.S. I'm amazed at the beauty.

Kim Ayres said...

Legalmist - Desert - that would mean warm and sunny, yes? mmmmMMMMmmm... sunshine...