Want to Enhance Atmosphere and Mood? Shoot Fog and Mist.

In addition to the beautiful colors of Fall foliage in New England, I also love that Fall presents a great opportunity to shoot fog and mist. For me, fog and mist in images adds a wonderful atmospheric quality that instantly adds drama and mood. Keeping a few tips in mind makes shooting in fog fairly simple.

It’s a good idea to be familiar with your area and know where fog and mist tend to develop. In the Fall, often around bodies of water is a good bet as the temperature on the surface of the water is usually warmer than the air. Getting to your spot early is also important as fog and mist can change pretty quickly and having the interplay with early morning light goes a long way. Due to the changing nature, quality, and texture of the fog and mist, once you have a good location and composition, take a series of shots over time as your images can look quite different even if it is not so easy for you to notice. If you show up at your chosen location and the fog is very dense, have patience, it will lift and you will be ready to see the magical unveiling. For this shot, I needed to wait quite a while but I knew it would be worth it as I wanted to portray the foliage and reflection as it emerged from the fog:


As with shooting in snow, be aware that you will probably want to increase your exposure compensation due to all the white in the scene. You want the fog to be white, not grey, so be sure you are exposing for white. Also, watch your shutter speed as this will effect how the fog and mist are captured. I usually use a faster shutter speed, under a second, to maintain texture in the fog. A longer shutter speed tends to smooth the fog and mist out too much and it looks more like a solid sheet of white.


As fog and mist can greatly reduce color and contrast in images, it is often a good idea to include some foreground that is not covered in fog to add dimensionality to your image.

FogSouthKent1 FogKaaterskill

And, of-course, converting fog and mist images to black and white can be very dramatic. Just be sure you have strong white and black points to enhance contrast.


One added tip, make sure you have a lens cloth with you just in case the fog and mist starts to settle on your lens. I usually wipe my lenses with an anti-fog cloth before going out and it does a good job of keeping the lenses clear.

Feel free to share your moody images of fog and mist.

Happy shooting.


4 thoughts on “Want to Enhance Atmosphere and Mood? Shoot Fog and Mist.

  1. Love the photos! Where were they taken? I have really enjoyed your blog for both the beautiful photos and your insights. Thank you!


    1. Thanks for the kind words, Debbie. The photos were taken at South Kent School- just pulled over and walked a bit on their front lawn- small pond out front. The reflection shot was taken on the side of the road coming back from New Milford on Route 7 connector. The shoulder is wide there so I pulled car over and waited for my moment. You don’t necessary need exotic locations, LOL. The mountainous one was taken further away in Catskills.


      1. The first photo looks like New Paltz. I always see such great shots when I’m driving, but either there’s no spot to pull over or I don’t have the time. Frustrating! Love the reflection shot.


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