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

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

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 fogPeople 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 lagoonSea 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.



  1. Linda Rockwell March 2, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Wonderful foggy photos. They have a very dreamy quality to them. 🙂

    • Mia McPherson March 2, 2012 at 6:27 pm

      Thank you Linda, photographing in a fog is fun and I agree, they do have a dreamy quality to them.

  2. Dan Huber February 29, 2012 at 4:57 am

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

    • Mia McPherson February 29, 2012 at 11:33 am

      Thank you Dan! Glad I can provide help by posting my settings.

  3. Larry Jordan February 28, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    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!

    • Mia McPherson February 28, 2012 at 4:34 pm

      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. Beverly Everson February 28, 2012 at 7:16 am

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

    • Mia McPherson February 28, 2012 at 7:56 am

      Thanks much for your kind comments Beverly, I love shooting in fog.

  5. judy watson February 28, 2012 at 6:34 am

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

    • Mia McPherson February 28, 2012 at 7:55 am

      Thanks Judy. I wish I had paid more attention to the Sea Stars I saw in Florida but I always seem to have birds on the brain first!

  6. Laurence Butler February 28, 2012 at 6:32 am

    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.

    • Mia McPherson February 28, 2012 at 7:54 am

      Laurence, I used to be hesitant to photograph in the fog but after the first time I did it I didn’t hesitate anymore. It can be a challenge but it is fun too!

  7. Susan February 28, 2012 at 6:31 am

    Fantastic images Mia!

    • Mia McPherson February 28, 2012 at 7:52 am

      Thanks very much for your comment Susan.

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