Adding atmosphere to situations and landscapes

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This post was submitted by Bob Campbell and if you would like to see more of his photography you can check it out here.

Adding atmosphere to situations and landscapes is something that I’ve wanted to do for a while now but have not had the chance due to the weather conditions of New England. November 26, 2009 Thanksgiving morning was what I had been waiting for. Horn Pond in Woburn Massachusetts was covered in a dense fog and I had to act fast before the sun burnt it all away. So to get some shots I packed up my gear, wife and daughter and flew out the door.

I needed to move at a good pace and get as many shots as possible so I left the tripod at home. I shifted into burst mode to get the images a sharp as possible since I was going hand held. I also shot in aperture priority mode with my ISO set to 100 in RAW format.


Fig 1

The fog faded out the background perfectly and the calm water gave of beautiful blurred reflections. I remember reading in a Scott Kelby book “Atmosphere is your friend”. He was not joking. This day I met a new best friend and we played for a good hour or so. I would periodically check the sharpness by zooming in on the flag pole on my camera’s display (fig 1) and then later in Camera Raw. At 100% the fading paint on the pole is as close to tack-sharp as I could ever get without a tripod.


Fig 2

I was also fortunate enough to add a subject to the foreground (Fig 2). This fly fisherman was the perfect addition to the situation and the only motion in the shot was the tip of the fishing rod. The bubbles and ripples in the water…it just doesn’t get any better. Also, the angle of the shot mixed with the shape of the pond, slight breeze, fog and reflection gave off a great looking distortion between the fisherman and the island.


Fig 3

I’ve never been one to follow rules unless it will keep me from getting arrested so I tend to throw out the rule of three but if fits in to the rule then yes I am a composition master. My mind and eyes tell me if it looks good then shoot it.

I’ve been to Horn Pond many times and seen this island (Fig 3) from a distance and up-close but never until this day have I ever seen it look more haunting but also inviting. Again the magical fog really creates this image and I am just fortunate enough to be at the right place and right time to capture it.

I’ve taken shots of many landscapes but it took this one day to change my outlook on how and when to shoot. Snow, rain or fog I’ll be out there shooting instead of sitting on the couch. It will only enhance your images and don’t forget to protect your gear. It really doesn’t matter if you’re a professional or an enthusiast on a budget like me. You can take great shots and the elements will only help and use your tripod if time is on your side if not burst awa

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  • rose

    Your great grandfather would be proud of you and these pictures this was one of his favorite places to take us fishing in his small row boat. I remember the salmon eggs we used to use were a brilliant red. Excellent job with both pictures and article.