With visibility low and the air damp and cold we might be tempted to not bother going out to take photos. However, fog creates some really atmospheric conditions where the reduced visibility can make it seem more abstract. The views are not the same as on a bright Summer's day. Familiar landmarks can look different.
Cromer is one of those places that we risk being so familiar with that we don't appreciate its beauty as we could. The pier is an iconic Norfolk landmark. We may have seen the odd photo of it at night perhaps but most of the time it is sunrise and sunset photos that dominate. This isn't surprising as the light is beautiful and with the pier pointing roughly north you can easily photograph sunrise one side or sunset the other and feature the pier prominently. However, I would encourage you to explore during Autumn and Winter and see how different things feel. Look along the promenade on a foggy day and you could almost be back in Victorian times - it can feel quite timeless.
Instead of relying on nice light, you can use shadows and outlines to produce simpler images. If you want to lift the fog slightly in post-processing then you can use the "Dehaze" slider in Lightroom, for example. Or, you might like to try split-toning your photos. That is what I've done here. The finished images have had a touch of blue added to the shadows to emphasise the coldness and have just a touch of a warmer sepia-like colour added to the highlights for contrast.
Normally you would want to keep water droplets off your lens. Having condensation build up on your lens can make a real mess of things. However, it can also be an alternative creative opportunity. This next image was taken on the pier with some light condensation on the lens. The droplets have created some beautiful "bokeh" (out of focus circles of light).
You sometimes get some rougher waters and higher tides in Autumn and Winter so that can be a good time to get shots of waves crashing in with drama. Just be sure to keep an eye out so you don't end up getting soaked!
For a very minimalist type of image you can increase the haziness by smoothing out the water with a long exposure. Either do this when the light is low so you can easily keep the shutter open for a few seconds or use a Neutral Density filter to darken things down a bit.
For handheld photos you have to see what the conditions are like. It can be surprisingly bright sometimes in the fog/mist, but not always. You may need to use a wide aperture to let more light in to enable a faster shutter speed. This has the added bonus of softening areas of the image so that they almost merge into the fog. You may also find that a slightly higher ISO is helpful. Flash rarely does much good as it will bounce around the fog.
If you can't make it to Cromer look for other areas near water as that is where fog and mist are more likely to form. But, the old architecture of the seaside town has a special feel to it in the fog and is well worth braving the elements to see. Try and find creative ways of using the "bad" weather over the coming months and you may find you come up with some unusual and beautiful images.
© Joe Lenton, November 2018
Joe Lenton is a professional photography tutor and commercial photographer. He has won over 50 international awards for his images and been featured in exhibitions around the world. He runs photography workshops and also teaches various aspects of photography and images processing one to one . For more free photography tips and to enquire about photography training please visit Original Art Photography .