Foggy Morning Rooftop

Foggy Morning Rooftop

The weather forecast predicted a bright, sunny morning. The sun was set to rise at 6:06 am. I headed out at 6:30 expecting to catch some golden light. Instead, I was treated to fog – a rather uncommon weather condition in my part of the world.

And because of its relative rarity, I have little experience with its atmospheric effects. I had to figure out what to do with it.

I took the requisite images of tall buildings disappearing into the mist. I climbed to the top of my favorite parking deck, hoping the city-wide vista, covered in low-hanging clouds, would inspire.

But it was this image that captured my fancy – the roofline of the Ida Saxton McKinley Historic Home, part of the First Ladies National Historic Site. Converted to black and white, with textures enhancing the shroud of mist, the Victorian architecture called to mind London or what I imagine that city to look like on a gray English spring morning.

And I was transported – to another place, another time.

Amazing what a little mist and a little imagination can do.

Texture Tuesday Processing (Photoshop CS6)

  • Process my mid-tone contrast action to bring out the textures
  • Process my Soft Contrast BW action (see steps below)
  • Add the Cora Texture and desaturate. Set the blend mode to Multiply
  • Add the Grunged Up Texture and desaturate. Set the blend mode to Multiply
  • Add a Levels adjustment to increase the overall contrast, lightening the mid-tones

Soft Contrast BW Action

  • Copy the background layer
  • Add a Black and White adjustment layer above the original background layer, accepting the default settings
  • Activate the “Background copy” layer and desaturate (CTRL + Shift +U). Layer>Smart Objects>Convert to Smart Object. From the Filter Menu, select the Gaussian Blur filter. Set the Radius to 40 pixels and click OK. For this layer, set the blend mode to Hard Light and the opacity to 80% (Note: the blur settings, blend mode and opacity can all be adjusted to taste, depending upon your image.)
  • Add a levels adjustment above the “Background copy” layer and clip to that layer. Adjust the sliders to increase or decrease contrast as desired.

Below is the Photoshop layers palette and the original image:



















Linking with Texture Tuesday, Free and Easy edition, hosted by Kim Klassen


Posted on May 21, 2013, in Photoshop and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 40 Comments.

  1. I think fog is my favorite ‘season’ in which to photograph. You’ve done so beautifully. Love the architectural detail on this building.

    • Marcie – it was definitely a different challenge for me. I love the misty, moody, atmospheric work of others (yourself included) – it took some time to figure out how to make it work for me on this particular morning.

  2. This is wonderful, love how the texture gave the grunge to the sky.

    • Barbara – there are definitely certain images where textures really contribute to the overall mood and atmosphere – this was certainly one of them. It was fun trying to make something of these unusual (for me) weather conditions.

  3. You captured the fog beautifully! I love the architecture on this house especially around the window…beautiful!

    • Cathy – I know – isn’t that detail fabulous? I have tried many times to capture the architectural beauty of this home – I think this foggy treatment has become my favorite.

  4. It really does look like Victorian London. I love it. I always love the photographic possibilities of fog but have yet to get an image I really like. This one is great, and I love how you’ve enhanced the mood with the processing.

    • Becs – well, since you can speak from actual experience regarding London, I will take that as a high compliment 🙂 I completely understand the difficulties of capturing a good image under these conditions – I think this one was primarily luck. And since foggy conditions happens so rarely, I don’t have much opportunity to practice.

  5. I love this! It transports me to another time too — what a evocative image! That window is gorgeous. I’ve been looking forward to photographing here in the foggy Bay area, and I’m still waiting for a really gray day. Climate change?

    • Gina – yes, you would think fog would be a common occurrence for you in your new home – at least, I always have that impression of the Bay area. I look forward to what you can do with a “gray day”. It was fun (and frustrating) to shoot under these weather conditions.

  6. Beautiful! Absolutely love the black and white conversion.

    • Thanks, Gracie! I thought the BW treatment was the right choice for this image, enhancing and emphasizing the moody atmosphere and allowing the architectural details shine.

  7. Wow! That is stunning!!! The black and white is the right touch! 🙂

    • Thanks Tammy! Sometimes you just KNOW when an image should be black and white – for this one, it was an easy decision – it simply called out for that treatment.

  8. I agree with the person above who likes fog season! Me too. Fog just makes for great pics.

    • Kelly – I have seen so many gorgeous images where mist and fog played a big part in the mood and atmosphere of the photograph. It was fun to have a chance to play a little in these conditions.

  9. Oh! You were well rewarded for your early morning rise. No sunshine, but what a treat this image is. Yes…a little mist and imagination brings a lot of beauty into being!

    • Juli – yes, it was quite a shock to walk out the door expecting bright morning sunshine and instead be greeted with low-lying clouds. I have become quite fond of this image and the way it evokes a world so completely different from my normal surroundings. I love the way photography can transport us.

  10. Your processing gives this image an out-of-time feeling that seems true to the age of the building. I can imagine a ghostly figure in Victorian dress gazing back at you from that window.

    • Me, too! What I love the most is that I have tried numerous times to capture the beauty of this building – and was rarely satisfied with the results. But there is something about the atmosphere and the BW processing that just worked. Don’t you love it when that happens?

  11. Your B&W image really captures the essence of the foggy morning. Very nicely done.


    • Thanks, Earl. I am very pleased with how this one turned out – especially considering that I am a fog rookie.

  12. What a gorgeous looking roof, & I love the window. Beautiful in the mist & lovely processing.

    • Leanne – the architectural details of this house are simply stunning – but I could never quite figure out the right way to capture them. The misty fog turned out to be just the right atmosphere.

  13. This is a really cool image. I think the mansard roof line was a good match for the fog. That roof style to me always has a bit of a spooky feel to it (local funeral home has one, maybe that’s the root of that thought).
    Fog is very cool. While I dislike the weather as weather and find it dreary, it’s very exciting for photos. We get a lot of fog here-June and July. Sometimes it goes on weeks at a time without respite.
    Next time I have foggy day images I’ll have to try this process. Thanks for sharing.

    • Susan – I agree – that roofline just seems to “go” with the foggy atmosphere – it looks like something one would find on the cover of a gothic mystery novel. And while it was in interesting experiment, I think I’m okay with our relative lack of foggy days here in my little corner of Ohio.

  14. What a beautiful transformation this is.
    You have given it such a wonderful feel.

    • Thanks, Lisa. I am very pleased with how this one turned out. Sometimes you get lucky with the right subject, the right weather and the right processing.

  15. Really love the effect on the photo! It really brings about the feeling of a foggy morning.

    • Thanks, Tracy! I was initially entranced by the image straight out of camera – but I think the BW treatment and the addition of the textures really enhances the moody atmosphere. Thanks so very much for stopping by.

  16. I love the architecture around that window. Converting the image the B&W makes it a better image. The texture and other editing work is just right. Excellent image and composition.

    • Anita – I know – aren’t those architectural details fabulous? I am in awe of the amount of design effort that went into these Victorian houses. And I do love the black and white conversion – it really does let the gorgeous lines become the star of the image.

  17. Mysterious and beautiful!

    • Deb – shooting fog was definitely a new challenge – especially for someone enamored with sunlight and shadows. But I really do love the way this one turned out – being able to impart that sense of mystery and sense of another time was a real treat.

  18. I opened this post initially in the stark whiteness of my reader app–your image was so stunning, even in that setting, that I immediately clicked over to your site to enjoy it here.

    You are absolutely right that it evokes thoughts of another time–I was immediately reminded of Jane Eyre and similar reads.

    • Wanda – I have shot this house in all seasons and all types of weather – and it is this mysterious foggy version that is by far my favorite. The architecture was made for it.

I greatly appreciate your comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: