To all ye who want to paint with light ...

I should have started this blog many moons ago as I started experiencing the joys of rediscovering the art of photography. But as the saying goes - it's better late, than never!
So, here I am, in the hopes of recording what I learn as I progress from ignorance to enlightenment; about what my eyes can see that my camera can capture; and, what my mind imagines and my camera paints with its capabilities.

Please feel free to add any comments and share your wisdom (tips or tricks) that you have picked up along the way.

And do check out my How-To and Birding pages as well.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Cold and Misty Morning



I remember the first time I had seen the mist over the river one chilly winter morning last year.  I had been on my way to work and when I'd looked out of the window, I'd seen mist curling up from the water's surface.  I hadn't seen anything like that before, and I remember being intrigued by it.  I was on the bus, no camera handy, so all I could do was whip out my cellphone and click a couple of snaps before the road curved and the river was out of sight. I mentioned it to a colleague and he told me that he had seen it before and that it happened on a chilly and bright morning right after a mild day during the winter.  It made sense that the cold air would mist up when it came in contact with the relatively warmer waters.  And since that first time, I'd seen this once more after that.


Since I'm on vacation, and I thought it might be nice to do some photography at sunrise, I decided to wait for a mild day followed by a really bright and chilly one.  I checked the weather, checked the cloud cover, and then checked the temperatures.  Seemed perfectly what I was looking for!  So, I set the alarm for 6:30 am.  

I would need about 15 to 20 mins to reach the spot I had in mind, and then another 5 mins. or so to set up.  I would have at least 20 mins, before the actual sunrise at 7:33 am.  Except when I reached the spot, I realized that the sun had moved during its annual journey and the sunrise wouldn't be visible from that spot any longer.  I was frantic.  I walked down another 500m or so and found the spot where it looked like the sun might be hiding just below the horizon.  Praying that was it, I set up.  



The temperature was minus 19 deg C and with the windchill it was around minus 23.  I was dressed quite warmly and I hadn't planned on staying out for long anyway.  But the wind, especially because I was right next to the river, was bone chilling.  My ears and nose started to freeze first, and then my fingertips.   

And then the magic happened!  The sun started to peep out just above the horizon and as it got a little bit brighter, I saw the mist curling upwards - slow, small curls to begin with, and then it suddenly seemed like the river water was boiling and steam started pouring forth. The wind blew the mist right up to the shore, and it was absolutely breathtaking! 




I forgot my fingers, and my toes.  I just kept my eyes on the river.  And all of a sudden, a flock of ducks landed on the water.  That was a once-in-a-lifetime sight that I wasn't prepared with my camera for.  I had no idea that there would still be ducks in this kind of weather, but the winter had been really mild up to that point, and I have a feeling the birds, and the trees are thoroughly confused by it.  

I wasn't carrying my long lens, so I took a couple of shots and zoomed in on my LCD to see what species of ducks they were.  Although they were back-lighted by the sun, the shapes of their heads and bills told me they were Goldeneyes and Mergansers.  It set me wondering if these ducks remained in this region all year round, but that would be difficult because when the river finally freezes over, they would find no food!  


Anyway, I am planning to make another trip down to the river in the next few days to see if I can find them again. I also saw a Mallard family swimming closer to the shore than the other ducks and it would be interesting to see if they hang around during the winter as well.  I do remember seeing a pair of them early this year, when there was still a lot of snow on the ground and the little lake in the forest was still frozen.


Since I'd missed the photo op of the ducks landing on water, I thought I might be able to see them leave.  But no luck - I waited for over 2 hours, but they stuck around happily swimming in the golden mist!  They looked beautiful like that, but I know they would look beautiful at take-off.  And my half-hour outing had turned into 3.5 hrs, and I couldn't feel my toes and fingertips any more.  I was scared I'd get frostbite, and therefore turned to head home.  And would you believe that I had hardly left the scene, when I heard the ducks take flight?  I looked out over the river again.  There indeed they were, flying off into the distance, and being behind a cluster or really tall trees, it made no sense to even attempt a shot.  



Well, damn the ducks, at least I had the opportunity of seeing the mist over the river that morning!  


  1. hehehehe. I bet the ducks were watching you and soon as your back was turn, they took off!

    excellent photos too

  2. Haha.. yeah, they were probably just waiting for me to leave! Thanks, Cathy! However, my pictures don't do justice to the beauty of that morning.

  3. wow these are really great! Thanks for the wishes on my blog, Happy New Year!

  4. Thanks a lot, Elsa! And thank you for the wishes too! :)