A blog about outdoor adventure and Vanlife

The Cold, Damp Magic of Fog

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I’ve had these photos for a while now.  They’ve been waiting to become a blog post, but I’ve been struggling to find the words to describe my relationship with fog.  As an outdoor athlete, I have a love-hate relationship with fog.

Magic of Fog-23On one hand, fog means cold.  Fog means damp.  Fog means extra layers.  Fog means sometimes coming home from a ride, run, or hike damp and cold.  Fog sometimes means peeling damp layers off and standing in a hot shower, toes purple with cold.

Summer coastal fog in Northern California sometimes means a wall of gray 55 degree fog blowing in off the mighty Pacific Ocean.  Summer fog sometimes burns off in the early afternoon only to return by five or six o’clock.

On the other hand, fog has a natural beauty of its own.

Magic of Fog-22It brings mystery to familiar stomping grounds and brings our vision closer.  Fog is like nature’s macro lens.  Instead of sweeping views,  our vision is limited to close details.  Trails fade off into the distance and each turn is revealed slowly.  Fog forces us to search for details in the distance, or just to pay attention to what is right in front of us.

Trees become ghostly and mysterious; their branches taking on new shapes.  Despite invoking images of scary movies for some, winter trees in the fog have their own beauty.  Then again, these are my neighborhood trails.  They have a familiarity that comes with a lifetime of playing outdoors here.

Oaks in the evening fog

Oaks in the evening fog

Sometimes outdoor adventures in the fog are all about timing.  If you are lucky enough to get all the factors right, you may get to see the fog burn off in a matter of minutes.  Right time, right elevation, right temperature, a strong sun, and the fog retreats in a show of rays and halos.

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I was lucky enough to climb out of the canyon just as the sun was breaking through.  I watched for about ten minutes as the sun burned through the fog in a light show of stunning rays and halos.  In a few minutes, the fog had burned off, leaving a clear blue sky.  Being able to witness nature in motion, these are the moments that make us feel truly alive.  Moments like this are the also reason that I started carrying a small “lifeproof” camera to shove in a pocket.

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Daisy (Fog Dog) loves the cool weather and running through the wet grass.  She is built for  cool weather with her thick coat and revels in the cool damp air.  Cool foggy days make her spunky and playful.  She prances and explores, climbs trees and rolls in cool grass.

Daisy Fog Dog

Daisy Fog Dog

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Daisy Fog Dog and tree climbing spaniel

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The next time you find yourself on a cold, foggy day, bundle up and get outside.  Find a ridge or a forest and revel in it.  There is plenty to be seen, even on “blah” days.

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17 Responses »

  1. Beautiful Captures – love the fog and light:) Have a Great Day!

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  2. UGH! Fog!

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  3. Beautiful post–there’s often something magical about the way fog and sun interact. and you’ve caught a lot of it.

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  4. These pictures are beautiful!

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  5. Here in North Wales (UK), fog is also often on the agenda. Looks like waiting for the sun to burn through it and light up the tree was well worth it, great shots ^_^

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  6. I have wonderful memories of a day in Portugal, watching the fog roll in from the ocean, and up the hillside, and being slowly engulfed in the clouds – it really was a magical moment! Such beautiful photos you have captured.

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    • Sounds like a great scene. I need to get some better pics of the coastal fog rolling in. I comes in as a big wall of gray, holds off the coast and builds till it overcomes the pressure differential, then pours over the hills in long gray fingers. Great, cold beauty.

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  7. Seems like an amazing hike and the fog is beautiful in your pictures! Great dog, by the way!

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  8. Your photos are fantastic. You really have an eye for a great shot.

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  9. Those are awesome shots. What type of camera were you using? was it a point and shoot or do you take a heavier camera with you?

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    • for most of my photos I use one of the compact “life proof” cameras (waterproof, shock, dust resistant). I’ve owned a bunch of them. Great for a sweaty pocket, but lacking manual controls. As much as I love the DSLR, it’s difficult to cover miles with it. Thanks for the kind words!

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