Austin Fog

I have been wanting to practice shooting in the fog. The fog obstructs your visibility and mutes the colors, but it also allows you to conceal the background and simplify your composition. It can also give a dreamy look to photos. Early on Saturday morning the forecast called for thick fog and I had this vision of the city lights shining through the fog with the barest outlines of the buildings. So, I went downtown in the fog and mist and walked around attempting to find such a photo. I think that the fog was too thick for this sort of photograph and most of the light from the buildings was completely blocked by the fog. In the photo below, only the lights of the closest buildings to me along the waterfront are even visible.

Being generally disappointed with the results I was getting, I began to wander up the trail looking for other things to catch my interest. The silhouette of the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue caught my eye with the lights of the opposite shore visible thanks to the winter lack of leaves in the trees and shrubs. So I took a quick photo that turned out OK.

The rowers were out in the fog. I don’t know why they row, perhaps they are part of an organized team or perhaps they row for the University of Texas, but they are here every morning that I am. I tried to get the rower and ducks in the fog from various angles and I found one in a bright yellow shirt (a rower, not a duck) that I thought worked well. I placed her with the silhouette of a tree prominent in the background and ducks on the lake around her. Her yellow shirt really pops in the gray scene and the ducks and trees give the illusion that she is out in some rural area when actually she is in the middle of downtown with a busy avenue and high-rise towers just behind her concealed by the fog. This was hand held in low light and there is a bit of motion blur if you want to zoom in and find it.

I find this park a bit surrealistic, if that’s a word. I come down on a Saturday or Sunday morning and see people who have means wearing their nice work-out clothes and jogging in small groups or pairs or walking dogs right along side the homeless sleeping in tarps on the ground or on benches. It seems to me that they both move through the same world as if the other does not exist. I myself stopped and took photographs of the First Street bridge right next to a person wrapped in a tarp on the ground. He or she didn’t seem be interested in my presence with my camera and tripod, and I didn’t bother this person. There are a lot of homeless in Austin and I can’t say that I completely understand the issues nor do I have a solution. The price of housing is skyrocketing here as the tech industry migrates from the San Francisco area where housing is a big issue. Massive condo towers are built one after another, and they seem to have no trouble selling these 6 and 7-figure condos. I have become thankful that I have my meager house in the suburbs that has gone up in value by over one hundred thousand dollars in the last year or so. Perhaps one bad decision made 25 or 30 years ago would have left me wrapped in a tarp on the ground in downtown; it’s hard to say.

Anyway, I wanted the complicated structure of the underside of the bridge with the columns reflecting the water below and the fog hiding any of the background across the river. I worked on straightening this image, but no matter what I did it didn’t look straight to me. I guess it was my angle not being perfectly centered beneath the bridge.

While under the bridge, I noticed the rowers passing beneath the bridge in the distance and I thought that would make a nice photo if I could time it correctly. I had several opportunities, and eventually a person in a bright orange shirt rowed by and I snapped them in mid row centered between the support columns.

I spent a lot of time editing this photo, working out colors, textures, and framing and below is my result. I fretted over this large heavy column to the left as I worried that it throws the image out of balance, but decided that the brighter area with the tree on the right provides some visual balance. I really wanted the orange-shirted rower centered in the image as it is the only real color and grabs the eye.

I didn’t really get the images that I was envisioning and planning, but my plans don’t often make it past the conditions I encounter when I get to a location. I did find some other ideas for photos and got some decent results. Thanks for reading.


28 thoughts on “Austin Fog

    1. I didn’t have lens fog problems as it was a relatively cool morning and my lens probably started out a a bit warmer than the air. I did have issues with my glasses as I was trying to wear a mask and that make warm moist air from my nose blow up on my glasses.

      I have always enjoyed the fog though we mainly get in the winter here. So I try to take advantage of it when it is available.


      Liked by 1 person

        1. It may be far-fetched, but this photo reminds me of a scene in phantom of the opera. I saw this play like 15 years ago but I remember a boat scene kind of like this. Or maybe it was Cats (just kidding).


            1. There is a Broadway in Austin series every year. I’m sure that they do this in most large cities, and I have seen a few things over the years to try to culture myself up a little. I actually saw Cats in New York back in the 90s. Either that or it was a crazy hallucination.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. Someday I plan to see a Broadway show. Nice that you can see Broadway shows in Austin. I imagine that Washington D.C. may have something like that but whenever we go there its either to the Zoo or the Smithsonian.
              You are cultured, Phantom of the Opera and Cats! Or wait, Cats was just a hallucination. LOL!
              I want to see Mama Mia on Broadway, see how cultured I am. 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

            3. Oooh now that is a good one! I never saw it on Broadway but watched the video many times. My parents enjoyed that one. That one, Fiddler on the Roof and Sound of Music were the 3 musicals we watched a lot when growing up, especially Sound of Music.

              Liked by 1 person

  1. I quite like both of the photos with the rowers. They have a definite sense of some ethereal mystery to them. Fog seems to one of those things that has to be exactly right at that particular instant, like a cloudy sunset, in order to turn out well in two-dimensions. Never had much luck.

    Hang on to your home. Living in a Bay Area refugee camp, I get things in the mail two or three times a week now. I just had someone offer me at least 50% over what my little love shack is currently supposed to be worth. People with cash are looking for places to put it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Have you given any thought to tracking down the rower in yellow so you could give her a copy of your picture of her? You could return to the site around the same time and hope that she follows a routine.

    When I moved to Austin in 1976 it was said to be the most affordable of Texas’s main cities. Now it’s become the least affordable among them. It’s true that our homes have gone way up in price, but if we were to sell to take advantage of that, we’d find a replacement would cost more, too. The only way to keep the gain would be to sell and move to a place where housing is cheaper. That’s why people from California are moving here–which then drives up demand and prices here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know if that photo is good enough to warrant tracking this person down. It was at high ISO and is a little blurry.

      I am trying to figure out how to move to a better house right now. My options are pretty limited as far as moving somewhere. I could sell my house in a matter of days though.


  3. I can relate to having an idea for a shot in your head and trying to capture it. This is a great series of shots in the fog. I think the last shot works really well, it looks like the rower is in a building rather than under a bridge, quite surreal.

    Liked by 1 person

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