In the Fog

I would like to explore the world of forest photography and I know cloudy days works best. I did a quick run up to the mountain to try some initial exposures. This was a 6D mark ii and a 24-70mm F/2.8 lens. Would a polarize filter help, I think so but not sure. I posted the unprocessed photo.

I am looking for advice in the field mostly, clouds and fog, I live on a tripod and don’t mind spending lots of time at the field. Also any post process tips with this photo will be helpful.

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.

I like the diagonal composition but feel it’s a little too weighted on the left with the large FG tree. Also without any texture in the sky, it’s a little too much canvas given to it. I’m not much on post processing but I do see at least one dust spot towards the right in the sky. I’m sure others can give you some processing tips.

Thank you Michael, I agree, the tree doesn’t seem to fit well there as I thought, maybe I should have been much closer to it or just on the other side With fog, in general would ir be better to be more into the forest with very little if any sky in the photo when all gray like that.

I feel that the image is a little too flat. There are a couple of things that I might try to give it more life. First, I’d try, maybe a 16x10 crop off the top - there’s a lot up there that isn’t adding much. The second thing I 'd consider would be some light painting. I think I’m seeing highlights on the foreground fir (or spruce, or whatever it is :roll_eyes:) as well as on the copper and gold ground cover. I would suggest trying some dodging or, actually dodging with colour (i.e., light painting) to bring out those highlights and bring out more contrast and depth to the image. Sometimes, it just ain’t there and we need to let it go or come back on another day, but I think you could give this image more depth by adding some darks and mid-tone contrast as well as I suggested, some dodging/light painting. I don’t know if you use Tony Kuyper’s TK7 panel, but if you do, you might try the “Make It Glow” function which would pull up a little more vibrance in the warm colours. Now all of what I am suggesting is based on my vision, not yours so, please, take it worth a grain of salt.


Forest photography is tough. So many elements to contend with in trying to come up with a coherent composition. While it is easier to make a forest image under foggy skies, I think it relates more to when you are actually IN the forest where the sky is not part of the scene. The reason I believe this is so, is that when deep within the trees, the clear blue sky sends blue light into the trees and causes a blue shift that we, back in the film days, had to compensate for with warming filters. Further, clear skies means the sun light streams into the trees and produces highlights and shadows that make a single exposure almost impossible to pull off.

However, when not directly in the trees, having some more direct light I think works best for more expansive images like yours. Dull blank white sky is not so alluring. Also in this image, the trail in the LLC just leads the eye away, but away behind those small Spruce trees and that’s it. The journey seems to end. I am fascinated by what is going on among the trees on the edge of the fog on the right side, but they are so small that they lose their impact. Keep working on forests, they are a challenge but well worth it when you can get everything to click.

Thank you Youssef and Kerry, your advice will be very useful next time I am in the forest, on a cloudy or foggy day. I will practice with the photos I did capture and see what happens.


A nice image where the low clouds/fog do help with colors and diffused light. I’m thinking along the lines of Youssef who makes some good comments. When I think of “forest photography” I think of being IN the forest as well; This is an image the includes a forest, but I see this more of a classic landscape image rather than a forest image. Not sure if that makes sense - or if it’s relevant either… :roll_eyes:

I like the path here as it adds a bit of “what’s around the corner…?” intrigue. I do think the blank clouds are a little heavy; and although they do tell the story of the conditions, I don’t think they’re adding much.

For me, I’m most intrigued by the autumn color in the brush and vegetation lower right, including next to the path. These are the things I would try and pick up on if I were walking the trail. Of course, that’s kinda like back seat driving… I wasn’t there.

I could see a couple of crop options. One, a square crop starting from the LLC which would bring emphasis to the first tree and path and a little color on the right. OR, maybe a pano crop cutting a good 1/2 of the sky. This would bring more of the BG forest in to play, as well as the color in the LR. Just some thoughts.

I agree with Youssef that these conditions are great for some forest photography - in or out. :wink:


Dean, I couldn’t resist working on your image a bit. Looking at your website I think you don’t need any advice in post processing . The main thing I did was to give the whole some more color and the fog a bit from the color of the flowers below. In my opinion in this manner the fog isn’t an empty space and contributes to the whole image. The path I made a little darker and I turned the image.
I hope this answers your questions and also to see more of you because I think there is a lot to learn for me.

Thanks Ben and Lon. Posting a non post process image was what I was hoping to see as well. The advice I am getting on NPN so far is priceless.