Lost in the time of mists
Tony Gill captures that most fleeting of weathers, the shrouding mist
Published in October ’16
Depending on what one is looking for, the definition of mist (and how it differs from fog) is easy. Mist is, meteorologically, where warm moist air has met cool air and droplets of water become suspended in the air. Fog, meteorologically, is a low-flying cloud.
There are legal definitions of fog and mist in terms of visibility whether one is driving or flying, for which the figures are, somewhat unhelpfully, different. This is an area of safety where one would like as much clarity as possible, but, perhaps appropriately, there is none.
From a photographic perspective, things are much clearer: with mist you can create elaborate, evocative and moody images at various densities and altitudes, at different times of day or year, with different colours of light and shade.
When shooting pictures in mist, one challenges the viewer to strain a little, to try to see beyond what is immediately evident, and see which wonders lie behind wrapped in the gossamer wings of the early morning’s water droplets.
Conversely, if you shoot an image in fog, you’ll get a picture of fog.
Mist arrives in September as a harbinger of a warm day to come, but cruelly changes its character as the year gets older, settling on the landscape like a blanket and refusing to burn away during the day.
Instead it chooses to cool and cool until it sheathes the world in a frozen, fixed and semi-permanent version of itself overnight… and so begins the winter’s chill embrace.