Behind the Lens: Mist and Maples, Eighth Lake

by Mark Bowie | Photography

Sunlight, mist and maples, Eighth Lake State Campground

Exposure Data:
3 exposures: 0.4, 0.8, and 1.6 sec’s, f/16, ISO 100
Nikon D7000, Nikkor 18-70mm lens set at 52mm.

In recent years I’ve tried to make autumn images that are different from the norm. With such beautiful color seemingly anywhere you point your camera across the Adirondack autumn landscape, making pretty pictures is relatively easy; crafting autumn images with a lasting impression, not so.  

I’ve found that one of the most photogenic conditions for autumn images actually occurs most mornings in September and October, as fog rises from lakes and ponds and drifts amongst the surrounding forests, such as here at Eighth Lake. The recently risen sun is backlighting thick fog and colorful maple trees. I’ve learned so much from this scene about how sunlight and fog interact with fall foliage to create incredible imagery. Note the difference in how the backlit leaves appear against the bright fog versus the dark woods. They’re bright and colorful against the fog, with a light and airy feel, but against the dark tones of the forest they absolutely resonate with a luminous glow. It’s the difference in contrast with the background that causes the varying impressions. By the way, the exposure range between the bright fog and the deepest shadows was too great for the camera’s sensor to capture in a single exposure, so I shot three different exposures, one stop apart, and blended them in processing for this composite image.

As the fog suffuses the tree canopy it makes the leaves appear more “pastel-ish,” and implies depth. Note too that when the fog is in shade it has a bluish cast, which plays off the warm-toned leaves. I could have made two different shots of the main tree—one of the upper reaches and one of the lower—but I do like the visual contrasts highlighted in this image. I think it’s special, and I look forward to finding these conditions again someday.

Mark Bowie is a frequent contributor to Adirondack Life magazine and a much sought-after public speaker, offering presentations to camera clubs, environmental groups and others. He is a staff instructor for the Adirondack Photography Institute (API) and will help lead the Weekend with Adirondack Life Magazine workshop and two other Adirondack workshops this autumn. For details on all API events, see For more on Mark’s work, visit

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