|A New Day|
Photographers love the fog. It adds so much ambiance to the pictures, and helps with isolating elements in your shot. I was excited to see fog was in the forecast, and started to think about where I could go to take full advantage of that fog. The first place that came to mind was Stone Mountain because there were a lot of areas where I could try some woodland photography with the fog. I also had a lot of options about what to shoot depending on what the weather actually did. Knowing that the park opened up at 7am, I started my day at about 5 when I woke up. After checking to make sure that Toni didn't want to join me, I got ready and grabbed the camera.
It was a dreary drive to Stone Mountain, with drizzle, and some low level fog in the road. This didn't really bother me since I was wanting just this type of weather for my morning photography. The plan was to park near the old homestead at the main parking lot. I would try and get a few shots of the old buildings in the fog, before working on some of the trees that were set apart from the rest of the wood line.
As I got into the park, the fog seemed to lift which bothered me a little bit. The clouds also seemed to be thinning out. Well, that was the beauty of Stone Mountain...I could choose the upper trails and capture some grand landscapes with an interesting sky. But I was getting ahead of myself. It was still pretty much dark, and I was having to wait at each gate before the rangers opened them up. It was about 7:10 when I finally arrived at my destination.
I grabbed the camera bag and tripod and started off down the service road that leads to the old homestead. As I was walking, it looked like there was a street light ahead...but I knew that there were no lights here. I picked up my pace a little bit, and quickly figured out that there was actual color in the sky! This was amazing, because it is so rare that I see an actual colorful sunrise when I am out with the camera. I was almost at a full run now trying to get to the homestead. I was running lens options in my head and trying to figure out the best composition before I even got there. I knew that the color would be fading quickly since the sun was already above the horizon by this point.
That is the thing that I hate most about the settings I shoot with. With everything dialed down from saturation to contrast, the image review always looks very flat and lifeless. The LCD image is only good for checking composition and focus. The histogram tells me if I nailed the exposure. But how the picture is going to look, I rarely have any idea until I get home and process the digital negatives.
|In a Haze|
|Vulnerable in B&W|
When I was satisfied that I had what I wanted, I started to look around once again. The sky was getting kind of bright in the direction I was shooting, so I turned my attention back behind me. I was starting to feel like I had a bad case of ADD. When I saw the clouds above Stone Mountain, I rushed back over to the other side of the field so that I could SQUIRREL!!! So that I could get the bare tree at the base of the bald. The fog was looking really good, and the sky had a lot of interesting textures to it. This one, I set up to shoot as a black and white from the get go.
|Against All Odds in B&W|
|Against All Odds|
|Soothe My Soul|
|Water in Motion|
I looked at the setting and decided that the best way to capture this section would be to isolate a portion of it with my 70-200mm lens. I swapped that on, while keeping the polarizer attached to the front element. It took some doing to find the composition that I liked, but after a lot of moving around, I settled on this one. It was nice and simple, without much in the way of visual clues as to the scale of the shot. I'm counting on that to help bring the viewer in a little more deeply.
I started to really look for the detail shots along the trail as this was not something that I was used to doing. It helped that I now had my long lens on, which is much better for picking out details in the middle of clutter. What I came upon next was an old tree with some very interesting decay in the trunk. It was interesting enough that it caused me to set the camera up in an attempt to get a close up abstract of it.
I continued on my way back where my adventure had started some 3 hours ago. When I got back to the field, I started to look at the trees to see if there were any other shots that I could take. I actually found one tree that was kind of interesting, if not for its shape, for the fact that it was set in the middle of a bunch of bright green. That kind of color in the middle of January was not exactly normal.
|Feeling Your Age|
And, speaking of trees.....
By this point, my emotion was....tired. I had been out for nearly four hours now, and had taken just shy of 100 frames. With my creative energy spent, it was time to get back to the car and head home. It was an amazing day at Stone Mountain. I missed Toni, but I'm glad I came out today. It as one of the better weather days I've had for landscape work in quite a while.