Brisbane fog

The first fog of the year in Brisbane is always greeted with fascination. Well, for me anyway. Fogs always remind me of when I lived in Edinburgh, Scotland, where there were some fantastic 'pea-soupers'.
The first Brisbane fog of 2013 came in June and it was a good one. I start work at ABC News Online at 6am and my alarm is set for 4.10am. On the morning of 'the fog' I woke and got ready and it was only when I pulled back the curtain and looked out the window just before I left, that I saw it was quite foggy. June in Brisbane is winter, so 4am is well and truly night time. I set off for the bus station to get the 5am bus and the fog looked great. Walking up my street to the bus station I could see it was a thick one. I took the camera out and fire off a couple of frames of street lights and traffic lights and passing vehicles on the main road near where I live.
The same happened at the bus station, where I took some more photos. The bus got about halfway into the city and the fog appeared to dissapate, and I thought I might have seen the best of it. Still, the Brisbane River runs through the CBD, where I get off, and if there's going to be thick fog anywhere, it's going to be close to the river. Sure enough, I got off at my usual stop in the city and the fog was thick (I get off a couple of stops early and walk the rest of the way - for the exercise and it's a nice walk along the river).
Instead of walking along the Brisbane River, I decided to walk through the CBD and started taking photos as I went. The fog and the night time made everything look so photogenic and there were no shortage of images - car headlights illuminating from the depths of the fog, lone figures silhouetted by the fog as they crossed city streets. It was a photographer's dream.
After I knew I had around four really good images, I started thinking I might be able to get a photo gallery out of my morning's efforts, so I started looking seriously to get several more images. I rang the news desk and told them what I was up to - it was a quiet morning in the office - and that I might be a few minutes late.
I didn't wander from the direct route I would have taken if I'd chosen to walk to work through the CBD and photos kept appearing before me. I stopped at the top of William Street and prepared to cross the road in order to walk across the Victoria Bridge, which crosses the Brisbane River. The lights on the bridge disappeared into the fog while the headlights of buses coming over the rise in the bridge lit up the fog like beacons. I took some photos and started walking across the bridge.
When I got to the other side I turned and looked back. That's where I was when I took the above photo. The lights looked nice but on their own didn't really mean much. News photos are 99% about people, so I needed someone in my photo to make it complete. At that time of the morning - 5.45am - it wasn't exactly peak hour and the fog kept many of the regular joggers/walkers in bed. As a result, I had to stand around and wait for someone to walk across the bridge - preferably towards me. Victoria Bridge isn't somewhere too many people loiter about, especially with a camera in hand in the pre-dawn darkness, so when a few people walked past me heading towards the city, I pretended I was taking lots of photos of this and that in the fog. I did take a few photos of them as they disappeared into the distance but it wasn't what I was wanting.
Finally, after around five minutes, someone started walking towards me. When they got close enough I started taking photos but, at the same time, a bus trundled over the bridge heading towards the CBD. This buggered up my photo because I just wanted one person and the lights of the bridge. The bus was a distraction!
I gave up on that photo and waited some more. A few others walked past heading towards the city and this did me no favours. I was about to say 'sod it' and make do with what I has when, in the distance, I saw the bobbing of a head as someone appeared over the rise in the bridge. I looked behind me and, despite the fog, there was no traffic - pedestrian or motorised - sneaking up behind me to screw up my photo.
'Great', I thought, and started snapping away. As I did I saw the fog light up from what was obviously a car and I started to curse under my breath - I just wanted a pedestrian and the lights of the bridge. I kept taking photos, telling myself I'd wait until the car headlights were visible (at which point the fog would be too brightly lit to work). I had a quick look at the back of the camera and I knew there would be something there, although not quite what I was hoping for. It wasn't the be all and end all if I didn't get the exact photo I wanted.
A short time later I was at my desk at ABC News Online and had downloaded the photos I'd taken that morning. I could view the photos big on the screen and it was then that I noticed the 'star' effect of the car's headlights shining through the railing. The headlights weren't so obtrusive that they took away from the composition of the photo and the lone figure of the pedestrian was large enough so that you could see it was 'someone'. Plus, the headlights that I was adamant I didn't want, actually worked in the photo's favour because the 'star' effect added the extra element. As is the case with many photos in this blog, it's always that 'something' else that lifts the photo above what would have made it otherwise run-of-the-mill.

The full photo gallery of fog pics taken on my way to work that morning can be seen HERE.

Gear used - Canon 60D, 18-200mm f3.5-5.6 lens, 6400ISO, 1/100sec f5.6


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Cam. It was one of those times where everywhere I turned there was a photo. I (we all!) wish it was like that every time!