Watching the Fog Go By

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The fog was quickly rolling across the mountains when I captured this image (North Carolina, near the Blue Ridge Parkway). In particular, the wisps around the mountaintop changed shape the most quickly. Within a few minutes the mixture of shape, form and light were no longer interesting. I ended up with five to ten photos, same composition, different fog. When I sat down to edit it was time to decide which fog was the best. I use the word "best" loosely, as I look at the other images and still really like the how the light is hitting the thin fog. I'm not averse to keeping more than one of a composition, but I do want to critically evaluate the set of images. Gotta keep those editing skills sharp!

Here are my two runner-ups:


What separated the "winner" from the rest is the little window in the fog where the mountaintop peaks through. For me this anchored the scene.

The two runner-up images also look a little different because I've not spent the time doing the processing I applied to the main image. Much of the work was done in Color Efex Pro.

I used the following filters:

  • Pro Contrast: almost always add some Dynamic Contrast
  • Graduated Neutral Density: darken the sky
  • Remove Color Cast: the darkened sky made what was a subtle green cast way too prominent, so attempted to get back to something blue-ish (you can see the issue with the runner-up images)
  • Sunlight: add a touch of warmth back into the image
  • Graduated User Defined: couldn't get to a blue sky with Remove Color Cast so I added a blue grad filter and backed it way off to keep the effect subtle and (hopefully) realistic

Remember, everything is better with fog!