A short post in which British weather reasserts itself after glorious sunshine, and I unashamedly pun on my reaction to it.

Perhaps it was all the time spent in church at Appleby but I awoke feeling quite saintly recently, meaning I felt sufficiently motivated to go for a short, if somewhat undulating, ride along the riverside before breakfast.  Fearing a loss of impetus I dressed quickly and manoeuvred the beast out of my apartment before I’d even opened the blinds, which is why the conditions that I encountered once out of the hallway came as a bit of a surprise.

Grey.  Damp.  Foggy.

Just the sort of conditions that might have reduced my enthusiasm for the ride, but luckily I was out now so only to jump on the bike and I was away.  (After stopping to grab a camera bag from my car naturally).

Photographers get very excited about blur, or more accurately what is in and what is out of focus in a photograph.  It’s one of the ways of drawing attention to your subject matter through contrast; make it light when all else is dark or vice versa, make it different when all around is similar, make it large when all the rest is small, and of course make it sharp when all else is in soft focus.

I should have been overjoyed at the fog them (and yes I was hoping for some interesting effects as a pedaled through it) but of course the difference here is that you get what you’re given.  With a wide open aperture I can keep only a small part of my image in focus, but I can choose which part that is with judicious focusing.  With fog you get the foreground.  End of story!

untitled-64Away from the river there were motorists giving their own take on the whole blur or not blur debate, but this wasn’t what I was interested in today.  I was here for the natural filtering that an atmosphere full of water vapour could provide.

Closer to the water the fog became thicker, not because it was rising from the Wear, but because the river valley seemed to be channelling its shrouds.  Even the mighty towers of Durham Cathedral were overcome by its envelopment.untitled-56

And so to business; how to make use of the phenomenon?  Instead of using focus to remove points of interest in the background the fog just takes away the background altogether, so if your subject is close that is easy to achieve.  The woodland beyond the cyclist and bandstand become figments of the imagination, as do the rowing girls that the cyclist was coaching.

Still I was looking for something with more impact than that.  Yes, the river makes for a pleasantly bucolic image, but that would be true even without the fog.untitled-23

A row of trees disappearing into the murk might have been the answer, but there wasn’t really enough of a gradual fade.  untitled-22-Edit

So in the end I opted for the very thing that I didn’t expect to find on such a dismal day.


It’s not quite Mondrian, but in its simplicity it works for me.


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