December 3, 2014

Winter Fog: Mystery/Clarity

Fog makes a mystery of the world, as it sinks into a soft obscurity; fog illuminates the clarity of space as each plane––the near, the middle, the far distance––shows dark, mid-toned, and light.

On a clear day the form of this ancient apple tree––I think of it as a bent old lady––would not show up as strongly as it does with the background grayed by fog.

A stand of dried weeds echoes the shape of pale trees in the middle distance; the fog creates a poetic relationship, and the snow creates the drama of dark on light.

Dried grasses, which just a few days ago were sparkling white with hoarfrost, are now warm colors, a screen before a grayed landscape (ah, the wonders of winter's moods).

Close to us, the clarity of grasses against snow; the distance has two layers, the closer with some color, behind it, gray. 

The distant hills are completely obscured by fog; we see soft outlines of bare trees, then the clearer form of a young maple, still bearing some leaves; closest to us, a repeated form of small tree, with dark, crisp branches.

A drop of moisture, hanging from the branch of an apple tree, contains another branch within it. A day like this makes the world seem as though so much is hidden; it feels sad and distant, yet at the same time, it is life seen anew.


  1. Good photographs! I like the old apple tree, in particular. I wonder about photographing when there is fog: is it the fog that adds mystery as it acts as a shroud, or is it the contrast of clearer object, which we can look at with greater awareness, with the shrouded objects? Maybe it's both mystery and contrast, and maybe more than that. Making photographs when there is fog in the landscape is pleasant and challenging.

    1. Thanks James. You are paraphrasing what I wrote, using the word contrast instead of clarity, so I agree with you.

  2. The grasses look their best against snow. These foggy days make me want to stay inside with a good book.

    1. The grasses do look stunning in contrast with snow, Lisa. I'm with you on the comfort of a good book with the quiet fog outdoors.

  3. exactly the kind of light that makes staying indoors especially pleasurable!

    1. It was a calm, gloomy day indoors, very nice; but I'm glad I went outdoors to take these photos.

  4. atmospheric perspective
    dreamy mists
    infinite directional strivings of nature
    I pay my dues and go out in it
    Japanese ink-wash?
    What did I step into?
    Fog strips contextual bonds
    adds new ones