In a Fog

While I prefer to have beautiful morning sun, photographing in fog can be quite fun too.

Foggy sunrise

 Foggy sunrise ~ Fort De Soto County Park, Florida
Nikon D200, handheld, f5.6, 1/2500, ISO 400, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 300mm, natural light

During the winter months sea fogs can roll onto the shore of Fort De Soto and it doesn’t usually show up on radar. After driving for 45 minutes to get to the beach I often felt like it would be foolish to turn around without taking a shot so I would walk the beach with camera in hand. Besides it is difficult to tell how quickly the fog will burn off.

The glowing orb in the photo above is the sun through a thick fog bank.

People feeding gulls in a fog

People feeding gulls in a fog ~ Guess they were ignoring the “Do Not Feed the Birds” signs
Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 400, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light

The fog muffled the sounds, I remember I could barely hear the waves lapping the shoreline the day I took these photos, the cries of the gulls sounded distant and the fog on my skin felt like dew drops. I had remembered to open the windows of my vehicle while driving to the fort so my camera and lens were the same temperature as it was on the beach, that helped to reduce any fogging on my lens.

Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)

Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)
Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 250, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light

When photographing in a fog I like to be close to my subject to minimize the softening effect of the moisture laden air. I sand-crawled up to this adult Herring Gull just inches at a time and then raised my lens to photograph the subject.

Preening Laughing Gull (Larus atricilla)

Preening Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla)
Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 250, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light

Not too far from the Herring Gull I found this Laughing Gull preening where the gentle waves were being pushed onto the sand. Despite the thick fog I was able to get a catch light in the bird’s eye even in this funny pose.

Resting Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)

Resting Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)
Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 250, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 340mm, natural light

Between the Gulf and a tidal lagoon there was a spit of hard packed sand where I found this resting Ring-billed Gull, how could I resist taking its picture? Some people won’t bother to photograph gulls because they are common, I guess I don’t fall into that group. I like to photograph them.

Sea Star in a lagoon

Sea Star in a lagoon
Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/350, ISO 500, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 145mm, natural light

After photographing the birds on the beach I prowled in and around the mangroves at the edge of the tidal lagoons and found this huge Sea Star, it was about the size of a dinner plate. I don’t know what species it is and would appreciate an ID if anyone knows what it is. I wish I could have used more depth of field to get the tips of the arms sharp too, but I had to work with the light I had.

I’m glad I didn’t turn around to head home when I saw the thick sea fog that morning, if I had I would have missed photographing some of these beautiful things and the memories of wandering in a fog.


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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. Wonderful foggy photos. They have a very dreamy quality to them. :-)

  2. Wonderful shots Mia, gives me hope I can get some better shots in fog. Your settings help :)

  3. These are awesome images Mia. The sunrise in the fog is surreal! And the people feeding the birds reminds me of my years in San Francisco. As far as photographing common birds, my question is, what is a common bird? A common bird to me is most likely a rarity to someone else. I see Acorn and Nuttall’s Woodpeckers every day but I bet most folks would consider them rare birds. I think most of those folks would consider the Laughing Gull a rare experience as well. It would be a lifer for me!

    I think individual birds and their behavior is what’s fun to photograph, whether some consider them common or not, you can always get a different view of them. I’m with you! Photograph ‘em!

    • Larry, I agree with you about common birds. Here in North America we are prone to overlook some birds; for instance American Robins, because they seem to be everywhere but if an American Robin were found in Australia it would be considered rare and wonderful. My thoughts on that are if it is a bird I will photograph it. Each species has its own unique beauty and I try to show that in my images.

      Thanks for your very kind comment on these images.

  4. Beautiful shots! I love the fog! Great starfish and I totally agree with you about gulls!!

  5. wow. foggy pictures are beutiful!
    Love the sea star!

  6. I’ve never shot in fog before, but you’ve made it look fun/ Those are some handsome Gulls there too. It’s a pleasure as always, thanks for sharing.

  7. Fantastic images Mia!

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