Tuesday, 21 December 2021

The Man Who Walks In The Fog

 I must admit I rather like a good fog...


Partly it's that feeling of being out and about while everyone else is hiding indoors, but also fog and mist have a transforming effect, changing even the most familiar landscapes into something a little different. We all need a bit of variety sometimes.



England has a reputation of being a land of fogs, especially in winter. I blame Charles Dickens; he used fog in his novels as a device to suggest that something was wrong in society. Then along came Claude Monet and managed to make it look beautiful, despite the number of people who were dying from lung disease. It wasn't the fog that was the problem, but the amount of smoke that London produced at that time. Even Ella Fitzgerald sang about foggy days in London town.



The bald meteorological facts, however, show that we're far from being the foggiest place on earth. Thick fogs lasting for the whole day (like we had last weekend) only occur once every couple of years or so. And here in the countryside the fog is damp but largely benign.



But why would anyone want to go out taking photographs on a foggy day? You might think that fog just obscures the land, but it can reveal it too. By getting rid of all the distant distractions, it focusses the eye on the here and now. It cuts out all the clutter in the background of the scene. We can do with that as we travel through life: getting rid of all the noisy and complicated details and just concentrating on what's within our reach.



Fog also softens the hard edges of the world, making it seem a more gentle, kindly place. It's good to be cocooned in in my foggy blanket for a while in these crazy times. So it was that my mind was far from dwelling upon ghosts and cruelty in Victorian London as I idled along the footpaths and byways of rural Cambridgeshire.



I set out on two separate days, with two separate locations in mind that might make some nice photos: one yielded no photos and the other had no fog! That's the mystery and unpredictability of fogginess. But along the way I found other things I was not expecting.



One of the less welcome surprises was a huge fallen tree that completely blocked "the forgotten path". I call it that because twenty-odd years ago it was set out as a "riverside walk" with signs and information boards, but slowly the signs have disappeared and the way has become overgrown. I don't even know if I should really be there.



But anyway my progress was halted by this fallen tree, an obstacle I would have once scrambled over with ease. Nowadays I choose a long uncomfortable escapade amongst thorns and brambles to find an alternative route and eventually came out at the edge of a field. Luckily this led me precisely to where I wanted to go.



You may have noticed that the pictures don't match up very well with the text so far. Exactly so, fog is always playing tricks like that!



I ended up walking several miles, at times with the visibility down to less than fifty metres. It didn't matter at all, because as I walked the way opened up clearly before me, as it always does. That seems to be another life-lesson; although the way ahead may be unclear, if you keep plodding on all will be revealed in good time. 



So lets step out into the fog : it's really rather pleasant.


Take care.


29 comments:

  1. Beautiful pictures!Iboth hate and love the fog(Dont want to get lost in the mountain in suddden foggy weahter)
    You write very well too.Like alot the story of Charles Dickens , Monetand Victorian London.I recently did see the home of Queen Maud(well the rest of the house)Very fascinating !England is a history country for me .. Very interesting
    Most people wants to take sunny pictures therefor your foggy and good old photoes Ifind very nice

    Have a nice day with a good cup of tea overthere :))

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love walking in fog. Driving? No.
    Thank you for these truly beautiful photos.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi John - a delightful interlude you've let us wander with you in Cambridgeshire. Gorgeous shots, while foggy can be ethereal. I'm glad we have seasons and different weather. Take care and enjoy that weather - all the best - Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  4. So evocative, the photos are exceptional.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I rather like a good fog too, and I’ve enjoyed seeing your excellent photos.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Lovely photographs and a quite profound narrative, John. I enjoyed walking in the fog with you, and I understand your reluctance to clamber over fallen trunks, finally making concessions to advancing years and less supple limbs. Your comments are particularly apropos right now. I did a Christmas Bird Count on Saturday, most of it along a riverside trail with many obstacles, and then another lengthy outing on Sunday, and my knees are giving me notice that they are not what they used to be!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Such a wonderful walk through life, John. Thank you for taking me along and reminding me to enjoy the foggy bits too. You never know what beauty awaits!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great shots in the fog...which does bring into focus only the nearest beautiful things. Thanks again for taking us along.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Like you I enjoy a good foggy morning now and then, changing the perspective of everyday views of the garden, and Nature's offerings along a pathway, through a wooded area, along a creek.
    Great photos, thanks John.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I enjoyed your photos and your musings while you hiked through the fog. You are correct that we are often distracted by the noises around us. A lovely, thoughtful post, John! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love the fog too--it makes the landscape look magical, like anything could happen, even fairies. Wishing you a happy Solstice, Cousin.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Beautiful photos of the fog there. A lovely reminder that I really should get out there on our foggy days here and take a good look around. The fog produces a whole new landscape of softened beauty.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I agree, you get some beautiful photos in the fog. My favorites here are #4, 7, 10 and 11. Beautiful. You have a super day, hugs, Edna B.

    ReplyDelete
  14. There is something mystical if not magical about fog and your photos are a delight. I am old enough to remember the smogs when you couldn't see your hand in front of your face. They were scary and dangerous.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love fog, it adds mystery to everyday things. We had one foggy day earlier last week but I got up too late. Great work getting out and photographing the beauty that surrounds you. Your text adds another level to your photos and gives it life. Thanks for taking me along and sharing you walk in the fog.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Never liked the fog, it creeps into you and last weekend it crept into my back and I've not been right since. Saying all that it is never as bad as when I was a kid and the pea soup ones we had

    ReplyDelete
  17. Every shot you showed us was a beauty! Another fine walk that you took us along on.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I like all the things you say about fog but I will think of the risks driving in fog and the many auto accidents which occur during fogs.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I like your foggy photos, all of them. And I do think England ia foggier than here.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I love the fog too. Don't get too much of it out here in California. Love your pictures. You have a great eye for both the long shot and the detail. And, I wonder, a special camera?

    ReplyDelete
  21. Beautiful words to go with your foggy photos. I love the one of the “forgotten path”. Did you think that you, too, might just disappear into the fog as the path has done over the years?

    ReplyDelete
  22. Excellent photos! The landscape looks magical and truly you never know who or what can appear or disappear in this fog. Here it is foggy only in the winter mornings and sometimes higher in the mountains. Wish you a Merry Christmas.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Too bad about the fallen tree resulting in a roundabout longer walk, John, but you seemed to find some great photo subjects. I liked the way the fog softened the images and made them stand out even more. The red berries more so and those colorful leaves as well.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks too for your comments on the holiday decorations outside and inside our apt. These days of less cheer, they do give us a smile every day.

    ReplyDelete
  25. How evocative these images are! I’m always amazed with your mastery of fog photography and is pleased with your challenge to stepping into fog. As to life-lesson, we must not forget the rays of light in a foggy maze of corona.

    Yoko

    ReplyDelete
  26. I so love fog...it seems to enhance any photo. It transforms an everyday scene into one of magic and mystery. Your photos are all wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Wath a beauty in these photos. The fog makes all so lovely.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to comment. I'll try to answer any questions via a comment or e-mail within the next day or two (no hard questions, please!).