There was one year three or four years ago where it seemed like there was not a day of fog down in the Sacramento Valley. I am sure there were foggy days or nights, just not where I happened to be. Then there are days like yesterday. Middle of the afternoon sun with the temperature dropping. Within the span of 15-20 minutes the clear skies were quickly replaced by dense fog with zero visibility an eight of a mile out. Perfect! Fog can provide a greater sense of depth to relatively close objects such as trees placed a varying distances from you, or in this case provide a blank backdrop to isolate an object. A mistake in composition is potentially including too many elements (usually in the foreground or background) resulting in a cluttered photograph. The fog helps us simplify.
Processing Notes: Converting photographs from color to monochrome (or Black & White/B&W) is more than selecting the B&W button in Lightroom or Aperture, or setting the Saturation slider to a negative setting. There are just as many, potentially even more, adjustments to be made in post than for a color photograph. In monochrome, we are working with shades of a single color that still need to convey depth and structure. For me to have that additional adjustment control, the image is first processed in Lightroom for global adjustments (camera and lens profiles, exposure, contrast, removal of dust spots) before exporting to Nik Silver EFex Pro 2 for the majority of my processing work. Much of the processing attention in this photograph is on two areas – the branches, especially the tops of the tree, and the overall tone color. Individual control points were used in different areas at the tops of the tree to increase structure and thus the definition of those tiny branches. Then various toning options were experimented with (toning color, paper and silver hues) until the overall feel of the photograph was how I envisioned it in my head.
Silver EFex Pro 2 is part of the Nik Collection. Google bought Nik a few years back and as of mid-2016 the entire collection is free.
EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center-weighted metering mode, ISO100, 45mm, f/8, 1/30 sec
Cameron Park (CA), Fallen Oak Tree, Fog, Monochrome. Cameron Park, CA. January 14, 2017. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.