Sunday, September 13, 2009

“The Fog Comes On Little Cat Feet”

By Joann M. Ringelstetter

Over the past few weeks, there have been many foggy mornings that made driving to work difficult. But when fog comes on the weekend, it provides great photographic opportunities for us. The past two weekends, Ruth and I have ventured out way before first light in order to capture some early morning foggy scenes.

Several years ago, around 4:30 am on a workday, I was jolted awake by a phone call from a friend of mine who lived high on a hill. “Wake up! There’s fog in the valley!” she said. She worked the early shift and had driven down the hill into the fog at ground level. She urged me to grab my camera and head to the edge of the hill so that I could photograph the fog in the valley at the break of day. I did just as she suggested and I was rewarded with some great photos that I recorded on film and will hopefully find time to scan to digital some day. Here is a similar scene I captured this past weekend.

Fog is a funny thing. Sometimes it’s so thick that it’s hard to see anything. And other times, it makes us see things that aren’t there. I remember a foggy December day when we were participating in the annual Christmas Bird Count. The fog was very thick the entire morning and, at one point, someone in our group said she was sure there was a Canada Goose on the creek. The rest of us thought it wasn’t moving, but she insisted. So we set up the spotting scope to verify her sighting. It was a Canada Goose, all right. Unfortunately, it was also a decoy.

Fog can hang thick and appear unmoving. It can also move very quickly. Two weeks ago, while photographing in the fog in Sauk County, Wisconsin, I set up my camera to capture a foggy windmill scene. I lined up the shot and just as I reached for my remote to trip the shutter, the windmill disappeared into the fog. So we ended up moving on down the road to capture this beautiful church scene.

Here is a poem by Carl Sandburg that captures the magic of fog:


The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Happy Shunpiking!

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