The Subtlety of Fog

An experiment, rendering fog and clouds in black and white

This was the first shot I took with the drone this morning when it rose above the fog. This is a hill to our east, and although there are some houses there, the trees dominate.

I had a terrible time trying to process this image in color because there was so much false color in it. The clouds and fog were very busy refracting light, and there were reds and purple and greens where they did not really exist.

Sometimes, that can be fun, but sometimes it just creates chaos.

So I thought of the black and white film simulations that I have, and wound up with this.

Technical info: shot with DJI Mini 2 drone camera. Once I made the decision to go B&W, I first added halation effects (adding a subtle glow to the brighter areas), which both hid the noise that was in the photo and gave the clouds a softer texture. (Low light leads to noisy photos.)

I then brightened the mid tones (trees), and sharpened up the mid tones a little bit to give back some of the contrast that had disappeared with halation.

Halation originally showed up in certain films that had reflective backing on the light-sensitive area. It made bright areas look smoother, even self-illuminated. I thought that a little of that would be good for the clouds.

In plainer terms: I made the clouds soft; I added definition and separation to the trees. The result, to me, looks like an old-time black and white movie still, right before something sinister comes.