September 4, 2010 Vivid Day Fogbows, Rays, and Diving Osprey

Corona around a quarter moon. Get just the right amoun of mist/fog above you and these can get quite crazy. This example falls short of how crazy I've seen them. Problem is getting them to max out requires the most perfect setup and the fog changes so much, it's just difficult to stop and setup after you see it happen.

I was out for car headlight fogbow shots since I thought Chris was heading out too...it's a lot easier to do with more than one person. Chris never went out so I just farted around with the moon and some other scenes. The only bad part about fogbows by yourself, from your headlights and not the sun or moon, is you have to stand out ahead of your car 50-100 feet or so. Doing so you can't see a thing looking back towards your car, just blinding headlights in fog and night darkness. You have no way of knowing if some other car is coming down the gravel road then. That and you can't see the monsters you can hear knocking the corn and beans around in the field right next to you. I know there is some pigman over there where I was doing these. I ALWAYS hear very odd stuff over on that road by myself lol. My bet is this freaky scary sounding "thing" is going to end up being from some smaller animal, like a raccoon or possum or something. It's cool anyway, all the animal noises you can hear out there by yourself at night. Though the deer or whatever monster they might be, really suck when they are making noises out in the field on things and your mind just wonders. I never do well when I try a headlight fogbow and not only hear the things around me, but can't see a freaking thing other than blinding headlights in fog. So you walk back to your car and for all you know bigfoot is there, ready to smack you down. You wouldn't see him until you clear you headlight beams. As his 12 foot wingspan snags your ass. It's a lot like those police lineup things. Those in the lights can't see crap in the dark, which is everywhere else at night doing this. And at the same time, you are highlighted like dinner is right here. It just doesn't feel natural I guess lol. I think having something to get back into makes it worse. Like I'd freak myself out less if I was on some hill and had no hide back in the car option. Or maybe I'm seldom brave enough to be far from the car at night in the first place. Course if anyone else ever even heard pigman over there, they'd not leave their house.

In Desoto now. Sucks how high the water is yet. River way up, lake way up. Half the areas are closed because of this.

Steam plume. Oh yeah, I went out because I knew it would be so cool with light winds. It got down to 42F actually. Crops and lakes just end up producing steam and fog this time of year.

Canadian Geese with some Herons around.

One Heron in the background.

Ok this was a half assed attempt at a pano. I exposed so the sun area wouldn't blow out. This made everything else about black. I then took 3 shots with my 10-22(which I now have again, yippee). Photoshop CS4 refused to merge them via automerge. It'd do 2 of them but not the 3rd. Other sets I couldn't even get it to do 2. So I did them the old fashioned way, by hand in photoshop lol. Actually pretty dang simple by hand/manually anyway. Had to open up the shadows a long way. Anyway, the road on the left goes north and road on right goes south. It's over a 180 degrees wide here. Kinda funky knowing the actual location and then looking at this, cause there's no bend right here on the bank. Got a real good idea how much stretching happens at the sides of the 10-22 as I did this. More than I figured.

When I drove around the lake to get to the gravel road(early) I came across an area of highly dense fog. I KNEW when I hit that it would later likely work wonders for fogbows. Well after I left the lake edge I came to an area I thought would work well too, once the sun would clear the trees there. I began to see a fogbow there but needed more fog to move south. It sorta was, but just not enough I guess. I didn't know wether to wait and monitor the fogbow action there or to drive back to that corner I saw the dense fog in earlier. I decided to go try it real quick and if it sucked race back where I was.

I already had a much better fogbow back in that corner, seen above as I now try to put one of the many(millions) wet spider webs in the shot. At 10mm I had to be right up against the web with the lens and stop it down, while hoping to hyperfocal things some.

Not only did I have an increasingly amazing fogbow display happening, I had just as cool display of sun rays happening through the trees on the fog, in the opposite direction. The lake is on the other side of the trees. This all has never worked so well here. I know what the trick is. Light east wind, a somewhat tricky feat while having abnormally cool temps to get the steam and the fog in the first place. Then again maybe not, just be near and on the west side of the high. Anyway need east breeze to blow the steam away from the sunlight. Get closer to lake and then you are in less fog/steam but close to it and getting as direct sun then as possible. It just takes some luck to get it all to work worth a damn here. Often too much steam plume going up will block out the sun too much too.

Running around in the grass trying to get the webs in the shot and I'm soon drenched. Seeing a huge spider on a web at one point and I wondered why I was running around in the tall grasses like I was. If you ain't seen it before, these areas don't just have the web here and there, webs are plastered all over the place. Another corona now too, this time from the sun.

Brighter. Hard to pretty up the composition when the webs are often attached to chaotic taller grasses and weeds. I'd think, hey this one looks cool, if only this tall weed it's attached to wasn't there. Especially hard when there's a crazy fogbow display behind you to shoot too.

Hello, fogbow madness in that corner I just knew was going to work later on/now. I'm backing my car up quickly to get it out of the shot(before the fogbow changes/weakens) and this truck is coming. I stop and he slows down. I then point back towards the bow and he stops and gets out. I ask if he's ever seen one of those before and he says no, that's neat. He then hops right back in the truck and continues on, pulling a boat of course. I'm constantly amazed at what some people won't even stop and enjoy. Just see any crazy storm some time and wonder why no cars care to stop and really watch. Evidently sitting in a boat waiting for a fish to bite is that urgent. I believe it wasn't during this fogbow phase either but the even more crazy phases below.

What to shoot, what to shoot! This is seriously the scene opposite of the fogbow at the same exact time. I blew the rays stuff though. Only a very few weren't blown out. I was using AV mode with a +2 stop offset for the fogbow stuff. Evidently I wasn't remembering this as I turned around and tried to shoot the rays real quickly. I'd forget this on something later too.

Blown I tell ya. It was more crazy at times. Damn ditch of water and mud right here too. Couldn't get on the other side without going well to the north. I'd have to get back across to get the fogbow better again too as it was best to run down the road towards the fogbow a bit more. I love these moments as much as I hate them. You quickly wish you could lock the damn sun in place. Just so little time to capture sunrise stuff. Clock also starts ticking on the steam production too once the sun is up.

Ok now the fogbow is going crazy. Quite often you could see the arc right in front of you, between you and the ground. Look on either side and you can see it extending down. There were areas in here it would show between the car and the trees next to the road. And my god how that place is drives me nuts. It's a fee based wild life refuge and the vast majority of this whole big loop road, the view is completely blocked by trees next to it. Those trees/areas were majorly pissing me off as I drove around trying to find the max bow effect. GREAT spot right near the lake with a completely open/tree free area on the sunny side, so you could get the sunlight and be near the fog source/fog....but you have trees lining the damn fogbow side of the road. It was there I could see the bow extending down right freaking in front of me and knew if the damn trees weren't there it would be wild.

Pretty cool. It can and will go more insane one of these days. Breeze not from the east though and I think one is pretty well out of luck on this deal. Got to have good fog but also just as important is to have fog free direct sunlight on that fog. By far the best display I've ever seen and I look for them.

What I probably like most about chasing and taking pictures of things, is the whole aspect of quite often the coolest thing you see is not what you went out looking for. For instance I was not thinking much about day fogbows on this one. I was focused on night stuff and maybe some steam devils after sun up. Like the last time I was here and I saw deer swimming across the lake twice, something I'd never seen before and for sure wasn't out looking for.

I went back to the lake, once the fog bow action was winding down, but was quickly losing steam all together. I think more than rising temps it was a better east breeze. It can be cold as heck, but if there is a breeze it will just mix/dry out the moisture/steam too quickly. It felt pretty cold everywhere and the steam was just about 100% gone. So I sat there and was just about to leave. I see a big bird heading towards me but had my 10-22 on. I thought, I have no time to swap lenses. Next thought was, I may as well try fast! So I did. Well I get it done fast but he turns left. I follow him with the lens trying to see what it was. I then see him flutter up and in place for a second. I thought, well he's looking for fish. I did not expect the following to happen. I've seen eagles and whatnot swoop down and try to grab/grab a fish. This was nothing like that LOL.

The bad part is I did that fast fast lens change but never had anytime, and didn't think about it, to change my settings off that +2 stops AV mode I was in. So at 100 ISO, + 2 stops AV, and now at 400mm....well my shutter was nowhere near fast enough for this. At least the shots weren't completely blown out like they could have been. So at least you can get the idea, even if things are blurry.

That bird, from way up high, flips over sideways, tucks in, and dives as hard as he could straight for the water. No, not coming in at an angle to scoop. DIVING straight down! As hard and fast as he could muster. Vertical. I had enough time to think, what the hell, and push the shutter, which was thankfully on consecutive shooting mode. He's that blur top center of shot.

BAM! You can see his tail feathers are up in the air as he enters.

That is quite the splash for a bird to make! Seriously, consider the size of stone one would need to toss out there to even do that. That is how hard he hit that water. He went down into the water. He's in the water now. He finally raises himself back up on the surface and takes off. Crazy sight though. I guess this must have been an Osprey, which is said to be called a sea hawk of fish eagle for doing this stuff. Seems like it would be rather easy for them to be breaking wings doing it like that very often. After this he tried a more regular scooping approach. This first 100mph dive thing though, was something else to see. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N568-opMT3w There is an example on youtube but that one isn't at quite the angle as this was. Still though you get the idea. I've seen eagles holding geese under water before and diving and trying to snag them or fish. Their snags just aren't like this deal. These guys get going and just plow into the water.

Nice steam devil. I missed getting a freaky amazing one as I was talking on the phone about the bird at the time lol. I must dedicate some time to get video of these. The vortex motion is exactly like some tornadoes I've seen on video. Ones where you see this wild inner vortex action. I think it would completely surprise some people that haven't seen it, just how wild and intense this stuff is. The one I missed on stills this time was right near me maybe 20 feet away. Thing wound up going for like a minute as I said I should be shooting this thing on the phone. Dang it now I want to go shoot video of them now. Should be plenty of ops now.