A real (Minnesota) pea-souper

“Freezing fog advisory tomorrow,” wrote a photographer friend on Saturday night. “Charging my batteries!” I fired back. On Sunday morning, I fully expected to wake up to hoarfrost — a Minnesota winter phenomenon as beautiful as it is rare.

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But instead of looking like this …

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… the road to my favorite photo spot looked like this:

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“Ugh!” I thought. “What bleak, flat, drab, horrible light!” (Yes, I really *do* overuse adjectives, even inside my own head.) But instead of turning for home I kept driving, challenging myself to make something of this gray day.

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I struggled to capture the muted stillness and the eerie light. But at least I enjoyed fiddling with my camera, and experimenting with different aspect ratios. I especially liked the square 1×1.

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I also discovered that there *had* been some frost, if only on the fallen leaves …

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… and on this tail, which had recently been separated from its squirrel. I hope the little guy makes it through winter without his downy blanket.

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I also saw some oddly fluorescent oak leaves, whose edges roughly resembled oxidized copper. The result of too much fertilizer, perhaps?

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I don’t think I quite rose to my own challenge, in the end. But at least I got in a nice walk. And at least I left a little trail through the fog and frost for those who might follow.

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  1. Looks like you definitely made lemonade that morning, well done! I love each of the foggy tree shots. In art school they always taught us ways to enhance spatial differences between objects by adjusting the contrast of each plane; the fog can naturally do this sometimes creating something dynamic but at the same time very soft. Yummy.

    I’ve always thought the sign of a great artist is someone who can extract the inherent beauty in anything, no matter how plain or mundane. A great painter finds emotion in an everyday bowl of fruit, a writer elevates one of life’s boring routines to a reflection on the human condition…that kind of stuff. So kudos for sticking with it and digging deeper, like all true artists do! 🙂

    • Wow, Corey … I *love* your description of how fog enhances the spacial differences between the objects, and how it creates “something dynamic but at the same time very soft.” If ever I have a show, will you please write the descriptions for my photos? And thank you too, for very generously insinuating that I’m an artist. I worry that you’re going to turn me into a raging egomaniac. 🙂

  2. Way to make the most of the conditions you were handed, and to find the opportunity in it. Ok, maybe you weren’t fully satisfied with the results, but I’ll bet the next time you come upon a foggy day you’ll have learned from this day!

    • You are so right, Jim: I wasn’t satisfied with the results, but I *did* learn some new things about my camera that will serve me well in the future. So, a morning well spent, in my book!

    • Tom! How wonderful to find your kind comment here! Thank you. And you are so right: If we can let go of what we wish/hope for, we can appreciate the beauty of what actually *is.* I try to remind myself of this every time i travel, but it’s a lesson I seem to need again and again.

  3. What beautiful photos, H. A foggy world is an odd and foreboding world indeed, but you found the beauty in it. And I love the little snowflakes that go drifting across them; how in the world didyou do that?

    • Did you and Noah by chance get to see Paris in the fog, dear pal? It’s a different city entirely — even more haunting and beautiful, I think. As for those little snowflakes, well … I can’t take any credit. They show up automatically this time of year, thanks to the wondrous code-meisters at WordPress.

      • The day we arrived, the airport was shrouded in fog. But it lifted soon. There was a little fog every morning, but nothing serious. And just one day of rain. And no crowds…but I digress. It was awesome! All of it!

  4. I’m so envious. Not of the weather or the light but of you determination to make something special out of what you (mistakenly, you have proven) regard as – well, that whole string of adjectives you used. Well done on defying defeatism; and congratulations on a fine set of images. I particularly like the top one (for the cheeky little dash of colour in all that greyness) and the fifth one, where the trees seem to be scarily alive; and the one with the footsteps among the leaves. Beautiful work. Bravo !!!!!

    • Aw, Keith … I am very honored by your kind words. Thank you. Hope it makes you smile to know that you’ve made someone’s day (even if she is quite literally halfway around the world). Cheers to you from the frozen tundra!

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