The Continuing Story of Mist Opportunities
This year the fall colors in the New Jersey Pine Barrens were not as good as the past few years, but mornings with mist have been epic. In January, I posted about photographing mist. Now, in October, there have been even more mist opportunities that should not be missed.
Mist in the Pine Barrens briefly changes the world. Our landscape is beautiful in a rugged and sometimes harsh way. It’s a world teaming with life and water which causes a rough-edged beauty. Mist changes that. For an hour or two, on misty mornings, those rough edges of the Pine Barrens soften into a mystical and surreal world.
On misty mornings, color in the sky often comes long before sunrise creating an almost alien landscape. I’ve stood before scenes like this wondering if I had arrived there by spaceship.
Sometimes, the early morning light will diffuse through the mist and bathe the landscape in a warm glow.
Working The Mist
Mist is always moving. That movement will hide and reveal the various features of the landscape. Time your photograph when the mist reveals what you want in your image and hides what you don’t. Sunlight can also create a beautiful play of light and shadow in the mist. In the photograph below, the early sun lights the living trees as the dead cedars remain in the shadows.
Sun and mist can even turn a local swimming beach along a Pine Barrens river into something quite magical.
Looking for mist rising above trees from hidden bogs and savannas can yield scenes like this one. Here the mist mixes with the early fall colors.
Mist In The Pine Barrens Ghost Forest
Ghost forests are made of dead Atlantic White Cedar trees that grew along Pine Barrens waterways. As water levels have risen from human intervention, environmental conditions, and beaver dams, the trees die. Because cedar wood is very hard and rot resistant, these dead, or ghost trees will remain standing for many years. Add some mist in the ghost forest, and, well, you see.
Sun and Mist
With the rising of the sun, the nature of mist changes. The golden hour color reflects through the mist as the sun starts to burn the mist off. This creates a slow transition between a soft, surreal landscape back to the rugged Pine Barrens. This image below was made on one of my photography workshops where participants were treated to this beautiful transition.
The sun eventually will burn off the mist and sometimes reveal little standout gems in the landscape that are beautifully lit while the mist masks the background.
Almost every Pine Barrens scene has innumerable intimate landscapes waiting to be found. Finding these scenes within the mist is like treasure hunting with a telephoto lens.
The last vestiges of a misty morning helping to light a fall landscape.
The Pine Barrens is a place that never ceases to show its magic. Mist is one of the pinnacles of that magic, but can be fleeting. Predicting where and when it is going to happen comes from experience, instinct and a bit of luck. That’s why regularly photographing your local landscape is going to yield your best work. You can visit locations regularly and develop the instincts to predict when to be there when the special things, like mist, will happen. When they do, they are a short trip away.
Save some mist for our Nov. workshop. Nice images, hoping for the same.
Some of these were from the previous workshop you were on. That was one of the best misty mornings of the year, so let’s hope the next one is even better!
“Play Misty For Me”… just giving you a bonus for Nov SJCC competition!!! Wow mist gone wild is an understatement… soooo right as to the many opportunities this year. Kudos for getting out there and sharing with us.
Thanks Mike. Getting out there has been a way to maintain sanity my faith that the world is still there and beautiful. For the record, that song was already on my list of entries for the November competition, but thanks for thinking of me my friend.
When the Sun Strikes Mist…my favorite. Such a beautiful set of images!
Thanks Bonnie. That photograph is one of my favorites of all time. It was one of those moments that was so stunning to watch that I had to remind myself to actually take the photograph.
Another set of beautiful photos!! Mist in the pine barrens always makes the scene mystical!
Thanks Joyce. I have a friend who calls these mornings “Mistical.”
I like that!!
Rich, great thoughts and beautiful images in this post. I’m going to repeat your words in one sentence so that I can remember them better: Mist softens rough edges, creates a warmer or colder glow, reveals what you want in your image and hides what you don’t, creates a play of light and shadow, and it is always moving.
I was there yesterday and experience the epic mist season finale.
Thanks Rafal. It is an interesting editing of this post into one thought and I appreciate that. I didn’t make it out that day but led a sunset workshop and we had some great light, plus a full moon rise. Sill, I’m sorry to have missed that mist and look forward to your photographs.
Wonderful post! I’m amazed at how even rain can transform our Pines environment into a magical setting. “Getting out there” with my camera also restores my faith in God, the natural world, and mankind. I notice the details and beauty of our surroundings through my lens and am always learning.
Thanks Kathleen. Rain does and a beautiful glow to the Pines, especially in the cedar swamps. Getting out in nature, especially with a camera, is restorative and a great way to share beauty with others through your pictures.
Beautiful images all. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Linda, I’m glad you enjoyed this post.
Great story and great set of images. The difference in color across all your images is amazing – shows off the true beauty and diversity of the Pines. “When Sun Strikes Mist” is truly incredible!
Thanks Brian. One of the amazing things about mist is the way it changes in color in the light. Seeing that scene in “When Sun Strikes Mist” was one of those times when I had to remind myself I had a camera set up.
I Mist You, be well brother Lou
Same here my friend. Hope you are well.
Gorgeous! These make me miss the mist of the Pinelands! My favorite is ‘When Sun Strikes Mist’.
Thanks Denise, I guess you gave the mist up for the high desert. Glad you got to enjoy some here.
Well the mountains but we are close to the high desert to enjoy the best of both worlds.