September 19, 2011 Moon-lit Fog

I have tried to get this scene for a few years now. First off there is a nice tall hill in western Iowa called Murray Hill, one of the bigger bluff tops. Otherwise it's just all around low and flat in these parts. Most fog is just general too tall fog you can't get above. Then other times when it ground fogs, it's just kinda thin. I'd say twice now I've seen it "sea out" from Murray Hill. Where it's deep but not taller than the hill. It's just tricky to get it just right. The hill is only 300 feet taller than the lowest points to its west in the Missouri River floodplain. From 2007 through now, I've made early morning trips or all night outings for the hope, 50+ times I'm sure. 2007 I first noted it happens from there where you can get above it. Yet maybe only 2 times would count as "sea outs" where it would look like you could walk out on it from the hill. I've wanted this to happen with a moon above, badly. And when I note something with weather and the sky and whatnot, I'm pretty persistent in at least going out and trying. It just requires waking up early and a 40 minute drive. But holy crap does it try ones patience. Light breeze, any clouds, too dry, can just screw with fog forming. Most trips have sucked and many zero fog formed. Others fog was too damn tall and from on top of the hill it was too deep. Sometimes it is good, then wind changes and keeps pushing fog up the hill on you. But sometimes you get up there and it's too tall, then magically it clears out and it is downright amazing.

This fall alone I'm sure I'm pushing 10 trips up there for this. I was DONE wasting time and gas before this one. But that day it looked pretty obvious it was a good chance of it going right. Too bad I went to sleep with plans of waking up at 3 a.m. again to go and see. Unknowst to me it was probably going strong already at 11pm....sigh. It sorta drives me nuts it started that damn early and I didn't know before I crashed. I could have had the entire night up there to shoot what I'd been trying for for years. Even as it was with this plan, I'd have myself a couple hours of darkness...with the moon of course.

I get out of town by 3:30 and am thinking, crap why wasn't I already up there. All these times there have only been a handful the entire drive up there was in dense fog, where you can only see 2 highway line dashes...yet if you looked up you could see the stars and moon. Mostly just the moon this time as it was taller.

I get there and jump out of the car and race up the hill, pretty ecstatic. I'm "hell yeah'ing" to myself most of the way up the hill. Problem was I wasn't exactly seeing out at anything at all. I was like, hell it might be too deep on here. But I knew with the moon above if I got on the steep edge I could find a lunar fogbow and shoot that for a bit at least. Most won't really get just how steep this is here. You can climb over and hold grass and stay there. If you were to slip a bit, you'd surely slide for a ways before you grabbed enough Earth to stop yourself. With the moon straight up it's the only spot you'll get a lunar fogbow. The trouble is the fog doesn't usually like to stay thick in that area, as it is half way up the hill. The wide angle shot above is about 107 degrees the long way there.

See right now it's not the good kind of "sea out". You can't see out on any of it. You are just in it yet. Not long and something, sounded like a pair of them, were rustling the grass right below me and even trees it sounded like. They were close. They were too big to be critters. They were probably deer near that road. I would snort and cough thinking that would send them/it the other way...but no. I was soon like, damn it, go away. I'd recently watched a youtube video about moutain lion spottings around here. So sure enough that thought jumped in my head. Soon I was sure my luck it's a mountain lion and I'll be the next person to "spot" one. I eventually moved up to the next landing, where I could still hear more of the same below me.

Thanks car. Hints at there being a double fogbow.

And there goes my fogbow ops as the fog moves back down off that area of the hill. The other times I've gotten a lunar fogbow in this spot lasted about just as long. I'd just show up, get a couple shots of it and bye bye it was gone. But at least now I was getting the moon-lit sea out fog ops I'd been going for. The only bad part was the fog trend through sunrise would not be better but worse, as west winds moved dry air in. But, I still had sea out in areas along the hills. For sure the best I've gotten it to happen with a moon up.

If you go 2 images up above this one to where the fog was still thick up here, that was only 2 and a half minutes before the image above here. Changed that much that fast, least in this spot halfway up the hill. It would fill back in a bit later, but the whole time one could make out a clearing to the west a ways.

Looking south from there. The bright light is Cargil back at home, 30 miles away.

You really couldn't even make out a light here in the fog. It'd show up on the exposure and then I remembered the house down there.

See now this I wouldn't call "sea'd out" exactly. It was thinning down, but yet other areas would keep plenty of fog in them.

Cool view to the east.

South again. Thanks car.

Northwest. Car driving on a gravel road along the hills down there. That is pretty "sea'd out". Real true sea out I'd say is when this hill below me is caked in fog too and you are just above it all.

East again. The one problem I think a lot of this fog was having was, it was thinner thanks to some wind. You can have some areas that look like thick fog away from you, but when you drive to that spot you see it's not really very foggy. This would all look much cooler under the moon-light if it was all thick, I'm sure. Shouldn't be able to see grass.

Like this is the good stuff kinda fog sea out to the south. I'd only now gone to the far south of the top part of the hill.

I'm sorta shocked the zodiacal light was showing with such a bright moon above. That cone of light due east is the zodiacal light.

Those silos must be brand new. I first saw them in the shots and was like, what the heck is that. Moon was really shining on them.

Looking northwest from the top top as twilight is starting to kick in.

This is looking south. Imagine a light west wind blowing the fog from right to left here. It wedges in the bowl and is forced up in the hills/bluffs to the east like seen in the next image.

Pushed up there and flowing out quite rapidly. It's so cool to watch this.

See the big fog wedge growing from that now. There were cool scenes everywhere now. I felt like you do in those bad dreams nothing works in. I'm like, where to shoot with what lens and otherwise blowing the heck out of time. Lighting goes from great to ass fast at sunrise.

Telephoto west. Talk about a clear line out there. Some waves in the fog on that edge.

Getting fogbows is getting to be too easy now.