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Posts Tagged ‘mist’

Do you take photos only when the weather conditions are optimal? If I followed that rule, I’d be staying at home most of the time. This winter in particular, it seems like I am at work on all of the days with good weather. So often I will choose to go out with my camera when I am free and not when the weather is good.

One particular morning last week it was really foggy and visibility was extremely limited. The subjects that I could see were hazy and indistinct, utterly lacking in contrast. It’s hard to know how what camera setting to use in situations like those.

I was at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, my favorite spot this winter for wildlife photography, and as usual I managed to spot some Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). It is always a challenge to photograph the eagles, because they tend to perch a good distance away from the trails that I follow and they are often quite skittish.

In this case, the difficulties were magnified, because of the heavy fog/mist. I ended up processing the images that I captured in a number of different ways, attempting at times to enhance the contrast or eliminate some of the fog, with varying degrees of success.

Here are a few of my favorite shots of the eagles in the mist.

Bald Eagles

Bald Eagles

Bald Eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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We don’t often have daytime fog where I live—most of the time it burns off shortly after sunrise. Yesterday, however, it hung around all morning and visibility was very limited at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Except for a lot of gulls and a few geese, the birds seemed to have decided to stay sheltered until the fog dissipated.

It was a nice challenge for me to try to capture a sense of the moment in the indistinct shapes that were visible as I looked out into the water of the bay. Here are a couple of images that have a kind of abstract, impressionist feel that I really like.

foggy impressions

foggy impressions

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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After several days of frigid temperatures, ice formed on the ponds at Huntley Meadows Park. Yesterday morning, it was finally above freezing and mist was rising from the ice, joining the low-hanging fog.

The sunlight was not strong enough to pierce the thick gray clouds and the winter landscape was almost monochromatic, filled with a sense of bleakness and desolation.

desolate_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

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Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) have now invaded the ponds at my local marsh in full force, but the population seems mostly transient, with lots of arrivals and departures, particularly in the early morning hours.

Earlier this weekend, I continued to practice my skills in tracking birds in flight and took a couple of shots that I really like of geese flying in the early morning mist. In both cases I managed to capture a pretty good amount of detail on the goose and the background is a pleasing blur, especially in the first image, in which the hazy outlines of a distant tree line are visible. The goose in the second image was making a turn, preparing for an upcoming landing.

Canada GooseCanada Goose

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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In the early morning mist yesterday at my local marshland park, the bright red color of this male Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) was even more distinctive than usual, shining like a beacon in the limited light.

The white-colored sky and the shadowy shapes of the trees in the distance provide a simple backdrop for this first image that gives it a lot of atmosphere. The wet, lichen-encrusted branch helps to tie the cardinal back to nature and keep this from looking too much like a studio shot, though it does look like the cardinal was posing for me.

When the cardinal moved to a different perch, the backdrop changed and the white sky was replaced by the dried-out vegetation of a field of cattails. Fortunately, the vegetation was far enough away from the subject that it softened up with the aperture wide open. In the second image, the cardinal seems to have become a little irritated with me and is scowling a bit. In both shots, the cardinal looks to have fluffed up its feathers, an indication that it was cold outside when I took these shots.

Northern CardinalNorthern Cardinal

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I arrived early at the marsh on a cool fall morning. The dew was heavy on the vegetation and the warmth of the rising sun was creating a fog-like list that hung over the field of cattails. Looking toward the west, I could see trees in the distance that were starting to show their glorious fall foliage and there was a soft illumination from the sun (as shown in the first photo). Looking in another direction, I could see darker shadows of the tress and a heavier mist (as shown in the second photo). You can see some golden light in the upper branches of the tree.

I am not sure that I was able to capture completely the inner peace I felt as I watched interplay of the light and the water on the cattails in the foreground and on the trees in the background. For a few moments, nothing else seemed to matter as I was caught up in the beauty of nature.

Morning mist and fall foliage

Morning mist and shadows

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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