Black & White... and Fog

Sometimes you wake up and find that the fog has totally embraced the landscape outside. This was one of those mornings, and I took a short walk to the harbor pier in Lidköping.

The old lighthouse at the end of the harbor pier in Lidköping looks out into the fog over Lake Vänern.

When I walked out along the harbor pier, I was totally surrounded by thick milky fog. I left foggy emptiness behind, and walked towards nothingness, seeing only about 15 meters ahead. There is something so mysterious with such foggy mornings. The light, the sounds, all muffled. Your senses doesn't fully get accustomed to being deprived of their acuteness. Anyway, apart from being all philosophical about it, suddenly the lighthouse slowly appeared from the fog at the end of the pier. I just stood their looking for a while. Taking it all in. Well, all that could be taken in, anyway - which was not much. And I think that is the thing - how the fog reduces the complexity of the landscape and the motif. And I just love that! To bring the complex beauty down to a much less complicated abstract (or extract) in the final photograph.

After deciding how to make the serene scene into a photograph, I set up my tripod and rigged the camera. What complicated the matter was the electrical wires that ran across poles along the pier and out to the lighthouse. I ended up choosing to not bring the poles into the frame, leaving the connecting wires almost as if coming down from the sky. A bit surrealistic, but I wouldn't dream of cloning them out. For added surrealism, I added a 10 stop ND filter (the Haida M10 Red Diamond) for making a long exposure that would result in blending the water with the fog.

Looking back, a lone bush made the perfect entrance to walking back along the pier.

I registered a few frames, but quickly felt I had caught the scene as I visualized it. Upon looking around, the fog cleared somewhat, and I thought I wouldn't have time to make any new photographs. Alas, the fog quickly settled again, and I looked for other scenes to capture. A bit inland there was a big bush on the edge of the pier, which still had some leaves left. It made a perfect foreground entrance to the walk back, so I moved around to find a nice angle. With the same setup, I made a few more long exposures that turned out well. When I began packing my gear down again, the fog lifted and the sun began shining through the thickness. Soon the sight was clear again, and I felt really good about not missing the fleeting moments that are now represented in these two photographs.

Technical notes

Camera: Fujifilm GFX 100
Lens: Fujifilm Fujinon 23mm/f4 R LM WR
Miscellaneous: Camera placed on tripod, Haida M10 filter system with 10 stop Red Diamond ND filter
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