Behind the Lens: Foggy Reflections

by | Photography

Title:
Foggy Reflections, Stewart’s Bridge Reservoir  

Exposure Data:
3 exposures: 1/400 sec, 1/100 sec, and 1/25 sec, f/16, ISO 100
Nikon D610 Camera, Nikkor 24-70mm lens at 70mm

On a whisper-quiet spring morning, fog hung over Stewart’s Bridge Reservoir, a damming of the Sacandaga River in Saratoga County, in the southernmost Adirondacks. This is a unique time of year for tranquil scenery along the region’s waterways. The foliage, in young shades of green, sprouts new life. As the sun warms the night-cooled waters, mist and fog often linger well into morning. On these blessed days photographers can take their time refining compositions and exposures.

To match the peacefulness of the setting, I sought to keep my composition simple. The splaying limbs of this group of trees and their mirrored reflections command the foreground; to keep the image from being overly busy, I framed them to one side, leaving lots of negative space to the left. There’s a wonderful textural contrast between the sharp trees and soft fog.

Between the morning sun trying to burn through the fog, and the darkness of the woods, the range of light was too great for my camera’s sensor to record in a single exposure. So I shot three—each two stops apart—and blended them as a high-dynamic-range image in Lightroom CC. This preserved the highlights while rendering details in the shadows, much like I saw them. To accurately convey the subtle lighting, I thought it particularly important to find a proper white balance, which was tricky. The sun was trying to warm the scene, as the fog tried to cool it. In fine-tuning the white balance, it teetered between being too red or too green, too cool or too warm. This morning’s special light required a delicate balance, which I think I found.

I had this place all to myself, and I’m grateful that solitude like this still exists. That’s part of what makes this place so special. And the photographic possibilities! I’m excited to go back.

Mark Bowie is a frequent contributor to Adirondack Life magazine and a much sought-after public speaker, offering presentations for conferences, camera clubs and other groups. He is a staff instructor for the Adirondack Photography Institute. His next API workshop, June 23rd-26th, is in the Finger Lakes region, photographing waterfalls. For information and to register, see API’s website: www.adkpi.org. For more on Mark’s work, visit www.markbowie.com.

 


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