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a foggy night

"i must go in, the fog is rising"

-emily dickinson

i guess i didn't get the memo. when the fog rises, i'm ready to head out into it whether it's during the day or at night. the actual heading out into it doesn't happen as much as i'd like it to. for example, early morning wake up calls, such as work, are one of the deterrents to going out.

when i was younger, i thought nothing of staying out all hours of the night. with little to no sleep, i would be just fine the next morning going to work. the job got done and it got done well if i may say so myself. heck, i've been known to stay up 36 hours or more straight when on a long distance photo expedition as long as i didn't have to get up early the next day after arriving home.

now, all these years later, if i don't get a decent night's sleep, i can still push myself through the day. but as my wife can attest to, i'll be crashing pretty quick. once i settle down to relax. it looks something like this...

the good news? fog showed up one night and i did not have to get up early the next morning. the even better news? fog actually showed up two nights in a row; for both an early morning rise was not required. i shared a couple of them on fb. i'll share one of them here in case you haven't seen that image yet. it is from the first night of the fog. be sure to click on the images if you want to see them in their own window with minimal distractions. then click on the "x" to get back to this blog.

the following night, the fog materialized again. i was looking out my kitchen window throughout the evening, observing and debating in my head whether there was enough fog to warrant some potential interesting images. as is often the case, i decided to check it out as you never really know what is going to transpire on a photo expedition.

as i was driving to my first location in downtown minneapolis, it was so foggy off in the distance that the city skyline was not visible at first. finally, like an old adventure ‘b’ movie when the hero or heroine comes into view as the smoky background dissipates, the outline of the minneapolis skyline began to emerge from within the fog. there is a sense of mystery when such an unveiling happens. lights that are normally clear and bright are muted and restrained. buildings that normally pop against the night sky take on a dreamy quality; it’s almost as if i’m seeing them through a tear into another dimension.

the fog this night was not of the pea soup variety; rather, it was as if it was always a bit off in the distance. however, i knew i was in it. street lamps just a short distance away shone beams that were visibly triangular or halo in shape as it protruded out into the fog.  it was not a fog density i was hoping for but still enough to provide, at the very least, a softer background as well as lending a sense of depth for creating images.

my first stop was back at the minneapolis sculpture garden where i was the night before and created the first image you saw in this blog. tonight, the skyline was barely even visible compared to the night before. some buildings with a stronger light source were like ghostly apparitions hovering in the background. others were completely obliterated from view leaving opaque gaps in the skyline between the ones lit up with the aforementioned stronger light sources.

i decided to walk the paved path that roughly bordered the southern extremity of the sculpture garden. at one point, looking north from that vantage point, i came upon a scene that was pretty cool. a row of silhouetted trees lining both sides of the path drew my eye forward to the iconic spoon and cherry sculpture. beyond the sculpture, the fog contributed to softening the background. this helped the sculpture itself pop a little more. i really like this image and can say that i’ve not seen this perspective before in another image. there are so many images of the spoon and cherry that it is hard to create something new. maybe, just maybe, i was able to create something that is new!

i continued down the path between the trees and took a right at one point. it led me to a bridge that crosses over 17 lanes of traffic! the bridge is named for irene nixon whitney who was a local philanthropist for the arts. here’s some information about the bridge. it is quite an interesting read so i hope you’ll check it out…

i walked up the stairs and started toward the east end of the bridge. while up there walking, i noticed the basilica of st. mary’s shrouded in the fog. you can make out a couple small dots of light atop the barely visible dome of the basilica. if you look at the first image in this blog, you’ll see that it is actually a pretty visible light source; that gives you an idea of how foggy it was that night from the bridge! i thought this could be a cool image using a longer exposure to catch light trails from vehicles passing below the bridge.

i usually do long enough exposures that the light trails from vehicles continue throughout the image. however, in this case, i liked that there were three distinct starts and stops to the light trails as well as a partial one that starts off camera in the lower left. i also like the static vehicle at the stop light juxtaposed against the motion of the light trails. reminds me of those videos where someone or something is motionless amongst a flux of movement all around. i’m always open to experimenting with different exposure times. just a matter of seconds less or more can drastically change the mood and feel of an image.

i had some other locations in mind for creating fog images so i turned back on the bridge toward the sculpture garden. as i walked the path heading back toward the car, i stopped at the spoon and cherry. at least two lighting sources pierced through the fog to highlight the spoon and cherry. one beam lit up the front of the sculpture. another beam from behind hit the sculpture and created a sort of bouncing off effect that seemed to split the air as if an invisible wall rose right where the split was. the right side was flooded in light; combined with the fog, it made the street lamps look like orbs of light that seemed to be floating. “look! it’s ufos! they really are real!” the left side, save for a small patch of light running across the pond area the spoon sat in, remained untouched by the light from behind. either a third light or the same light from behind shot its beam under the spoon. it created a reflective pattern on the underside of the handle of the spoon and continued its journey across the grass. it left a textured trail blazing through the murky blackness of the ground.

with such a broad contrast between light and shadow, i decided this would make for a great black and white image. i think i’ve mentioned in a blog in the past that while i haven’t created many black and white images, i do really love coming across compositions that work well in that format. they have their own special allure for me. perhaps with time and practice, i might be able to approach a level of mastery that others past and present have excelled at with black and white photography!

after creating this image, i made my way back to the car. it was now about 11:45 pm but this was just the beginning. i had other locations i wanted to hit to see how the fog looked. i packed my gear in the trunk, got in and took off. i headed from this south and west of central minneapolis location to…you’ll have to tune in and read my next blog to find out!

it’s been a while since my last blog. i spent a month working on updating my website (still in progress but close to done - it is up and running though) and then struggled with sickness that hit me twice in a month’s time. but i’m feeling good now and really glad to finally be back with this blog and more to come throughout 2024! i hope you enjoyed reading about this photo expedition! i’d love to hear your thoughts and comments if this blog and accompanying images brought any to your mind! perhaps it brought to memory some time in the recent or far past where you found yourself enjoying a foggy moment in time. i'd love to hear about it! if you have a picture to share, even better!

these images are available for purchase. here are some sample ideas of how they might look in various home/business settings…

"foggy minneapolis skyline from sculpture garden" - 27" x 20" metal print

"spoon and cherry" - 32" x 48" metal print

"basilica of st. mary's in fog" - 16" x 24" print with matte and frame

"spoon and cherry black and white" - 40" x 60" metal print

i so appreciate all of you who follow and/or subscribe to my blogs. it means the world to me! i would love for you to share this blog with others. if you enjoyed reading it, you can be sure others will as well. if you are reading it on my facebook page, simply hit the share button and save it to your timeline. if you are reading it on my website, click the three dots in the top right of the blog. then click the “share post”. you’ll then be given three options to share: either to facebook, x (formerly twitter) or click the link button to copy and paste the url to any social media or to email. i’d love to keep expanding the community of readers for my blogs. a big part of that is you sharing my blogs with others! i hope you’ll take a few seconds of your time to do that for me!

that’s all for now. i’ll be seeing you soon with more “images from my quiet world”!

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Oh I do love a fog! I think it’s from growing up by the beach. Fog rolled in often and thick. I love the cherry and spoon picture with the allee of trees. Just really love the composition of that. And as always you paint a word picture that is fun to read. Thanks for sharing.

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Thanks for sharing your memory Penelope. The ocean was definitely your love it sounds like. It would be cool to see foggy conditions along the beach someday. I don’t thing give ever seen it on the ocean.

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