Walden Ponds Fog 2020 Repost

I woke at 515am to fog. Fog so dense everything was indistinct. I felt lucky to be there.

I take such opportunities to take unusual photos of ordinary things. Trees in this case. The images represent my experience of the moment and place.

This image is part of an ongoing series on imaginary photography - non-representational images that challenge expectations to explore emotional responses. For me one of the beauties of that fog is that it removes the horizon. There are no other forms from which to draw understanding and familiarity. There is no distinction between water and sky. The island is floating. That is the mystery.

What is your response?

nikon d610
70-300 mm lens
92 mm
1/4 sec
ISO 200

Repost to lighten the image following @Youssef_Ismail’s comment. What do you think?

Repost to spot adjust the whites slightly following @Marc_McCann’s comment to improve the visibility of the island:


This is a nice quiet photograph. The fog really sets the quiet mood and leaves me wanting to just stare into the fog hoping to see some thing else. The fog though does seem to be a little dark in my opinion. You were there so you are the best judge but fog is usually one stop brighter than middle tone and the fog here seems pretty close to being middle tone.

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Thanks, @Youssef_Ismail. Glad it illicits a response in you.

You are right, the image is dark. However, it’s how I like them sometimes. I like to make images that cause viewers to search for an emotional response in an unfamiliar place. It’s imaginary photography. If I lighten it then the image becomes more representational which contradicts the emotion. I’ll take a look and repost if it looks promising. Thanks again.

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I am really enjoying this one. I have gone back and forth and back and forth between the two versions. I can’t decide which way I like it more, so both work for me. They evoke different moods for me, so I see it as more a creative than technical choice.


Matt, it’s nice to see you continuing to build on the theme of non-representational images. Trying to identify images that fit a theme for building a new website like you are can be a very rewarding process to go through.

I have strong favorable emotional response to the brighter image, it conveys a sense of mystery and openness. It makes me wonder what is behind these trees in the fog that I can’t see. The darker image conveys gloom. It leaves me wanting to see more, however it doesn’t have the same feeling of mystery. It looks so dark that I have a harder time engaging with it.

Now where does the brighter image fall on your representational / imaginary scale for me as a viewer? IMO it clearly lands on the imaginary side, despite the shapes of the trees being more visible. The fog is so thick that the trees become abstract shapes for me, rather than trees.

An alternate creative choice on the brighter image would be to make the trees even more diffuse, which increases the imaginery factor IMO. I did this via using -20 clarity in Lightroom, see the rework below (I also brightened it a bit further, but that is personal taste.

We have a Walden Pond near where I live, but I’m sure you already have a Thoreau understanding of that place (sorry, I couldn’t resist).

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Thanks, @Harley_Goldman. Yeah, I admit I do the same. I was reluctant when Youssef suggested a rework but I’m warming up. See my response to Ed’s rework below.

Ok. you’ve convinced me, @Ed_McGuirk. I like your rework. It still conveys the mystery and emotion I was seeking to remain on the imaginary side of the spectrum. And you are exactly right that I am really enjoying the process of making images that fit the theme. I have a purpose when I am shooting, and that makes a difference in what, where, when, and how I shoot. Purpose.

For me one of the beauties of that fog is that in this image, at any exposure, the fog removes the horizon and any semblance of other elements, and there is no distinction between water and sky. The island is floating. That is the mystery.

Thanks for providing the details of your rework. Maybe it really is just as simple as a clarity and exposure adjustment, because there are just so many options but I like to keep it simple. Would you mind if I borrow them for my own?

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No of course not. It’s your image, and I’m only offering suggestions, just like others do. Glad to be of help.


As a fan of minimalist landscapes, I find this shot superb. The island is floating, mysteriously floating, amidst a sea of fog. The time of year is just right. Any foliage on those trees would detract from the image. I only have one technical concern: perhaps the island could be made somewhat more visible in post processing. There is great interest in the island, and I find myself squinting to see more detail. Regardless, I could see this image posted in art gallery somewhere.

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Thanks so much, @Marc_McCann, for your comments and for your compliments. I’m pleased you feel some of the mystery I was after. I agree about the timing - I was very lucky to have visited and my plans worked perfectly.

I appreciate your suggestion about the visibility of the island and I’ve reworked it to adjust the whites of the island slightly. I think I like it but I’m not sure. I’ve reposted it above. Please let me know what you think.