Noontime Fog Over Jordan Pond by Todd Henson

Noontime Fog over Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park, Maine

We were visiting Acadia National Park in Maine. We’d read about all the beautiful sights, the grand vistas from atop the mountains, the crystal clear ponds in the valleys, the beautiful greenery of trees and other plant life.

But sometimes what you find isn’t what you were expecting. In this case we found an overpowering white fog engulfing the entire landscape, from the highest peak to the lowest valley. This meant, at least on this day, there would be no photo of the ocean below taken from atop the mountains. There would be no photo of the twin hills at the end of the beautifully clear pond.

Though that might sound like a disappointing day, it turned out far from it. It simply meant looking elsewhere for a photograph. Looking at the scenery with a different eye. Looking more closely, to where the fog intersects with the scenery, where a little detail begins to emerge. And making the fog a part of the photograph instead of trying to avoid it.

And so I created the photograph above of noontime fog over Jordan Pond. I liked the shape and texture of the rocks jutting into the water. And I liked the trees just emerging from the fog along the far shoreline, almost forming a triangle as the fog lifted toward the right. I found a tree reaching slightly over the water I could use to help frame the image, providing a border on the far right. The water and rocks helped frame in the lower right. The left side is then left open to the water and the fog.

I chose to process the image in black and white. Really, the only color in the scene was the green of the trees. The rest was very monochromatic, so I didn’t feel the color added anything to the look or feel of the image. Black and white seemed appropriate. And I find myself increasingly drawn to monochromatic images.

The processing itself was very simple, mostly adjusting the colors within the image to create pleasing tones of grey, something that is done with any black and white or monochromatic image. Even though the final image is black and white the original raw image file from the camera contains all the color information in the scene. You can then tweak this color balance in software (I used Adobe Lightroom), even while the image is converted to black and white. You can make greens lighter or darker shades of gray. You can make a blue sky black. You have a lot of control to help you express your interpretation of the scene.

The moral of today’s story is to not give up if the scene you see isn’t what you had expected. There will still be photographic opportunities out there. You might just need to look a little closer and think a little differently. Imagine yourself putting on a new pair of glasses, a special pair that lets you see the world in a different light. And then open your eyes and explore this beautiful new world!

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Watching the Falls by Todd Henson

A lone photographer watching, and photographing, Great Falls along the Potomac River.

One morning years ago I was photographing the falls at Great Falls Park in Virginia. This is the location where the Potomac River narrows and drops in elevation, creating these amazing rapids and water falls. You can return to this location over and over and see something different each time as seasons change, water levels fluctuate, atmospheric conditions shift, and people enter or leave the scene.

I love photographing these falls. They are such a grand and powerful example of nature so very close to Washington, D.C. This morning there was a layer of fog hugging the river, obscuring the distant elements in the scene. Fog can be a natural way of simplifying a photograph, helping to focus our attention on one element or another.

What drew me to the scene this day was the lone photographer standing on the rocks to the upper left. He was framing a shot of the falls just as I was, but my shot included him. I like the lone figure, hunched over his tripod, concentrating on the falls. Such a grand scene, enveloped in a layer of fog, and this lone photographer.

There are times I prefer including only the natural elements of the scene, just rocks, plants, water, wildlife, but not people. Other times including a person can add a sense of scale to the scene. It can also affect the mood or emotion of the image. Perhaps the viewer will imagine themselves as the person in the scene. Or maybe they will wonder about the person and their story, what brought them here, what they are thinking or feeling.

Watching The Falls is available for purchase as wall art or on a variety of products.

The resources below contain affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. This is at no extra cost to you.

Foggy Morning on Casco Bay by Todd Henson

Black and white image of lone sailboat anchored before island in the fog on Casco Bay. Portland, Maine.

This image, of a lone sailboat in the fog, is one of my favorite views from the train ride on the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad along the Eastern Promenade in Portland, Maine. The morning was very foggy and misty, with brief periods of light rain. Many of the views of the bay were obscured, but I felt the fog added a beautiful sense of peaceful serenity, of calm. I captured some views with large numbers of sailboats anchored on the bay, but I was most drawn to this single boat with the island in the background.

Converting the image to black & white seemed an obvious choice given how little color there was in the scene. I was inspired by Michael Kenna in my post-processing decisions. I wanted to draw attention to the lone sailboat so I increased contrast around the boat by raising the intensity of both blacks and whites. I lightened the horizontal band around the horizon just a touch to draw the eye to that portion of the image. I darkened the island slightly to help it stand out just a bit. And I added graduated filters to both the top and bottom of the image to create darker edges that lightened as they approached the boat, again, drawing the eye more towards that region, and accentuating the patterns in the waves and clouds.

Foggy Morning on Casco Bay is available for purchase as wall art or on a variety of products.