Can Fog Help Refine Composition? Maybe. A Few More Images of Inclement Lalibela
by John Downey
I returned to Bet Giyorgis rock church on an evening full of fog. Funny because a few fellow travelers at the hotel and locals along the way noted the “weather was not good for taking pictures.” Guess only blue skies and green grass are correct for photography…
I knew I wanted a more isolated view of the church, sans blue skies and other distractors. When I arrived, there was no fog. Having grown up in New England however, I knew to wait. A few minutes. Pea soup rolled in like a thick blanket and I began tripping the shutter. It was past five pm and the guard sitting behind me and this image was trying to usher me out so I only had a few minutes. Tried to placate him but it wasn’t working.
So a few more frames and that was it. After re-looking these tonight another thing occurred to me – fog can help with composition. By blanking out the sky and limiting background elements, fog forces the viewer to focus on main elements. Big, bold shapes and how they fit into the frame. Yet another reason why I always re-visit my own photography because it’s not always clear what made me hone in on a scene in the first place. I probably would have skipped the last two images if they were strongly backlit or surrounded by dingy-green scrub montane.
Fog makes for great hiking and thinking. The thick, cold air deadens activity, yet voices and other sounds emanate from nowhere. Maybe that added to the dimension of these photos for me.