PhotoZAP 49: Potholes in the fog

Our critics praise and pan your pictures

"What’s around the corner? The photographer correctly leaves this to our imagination."—Mark Lent



© David Scott, Austin, Texas. Gear: Konica-Minolta 3xi with 35-80mm f/3.5 Minolta kit lens. Exposure not recorded.

Photographer’s statement: “We were in California to spread my father's ashes. We arrived early, and had a couple of days to wait for the rest of the family to arrive. My wife had never been to Northern California, and I decided to show her (and me) a little of the countryside. I had always wanted to go to Point Reyes to see the lighthouse. Instead, we hit heavy fog. I got out and took this shot, a spur of the moment thing. Never did see the lighthouse!

Our critics say...

Mark Lent: I am always a sucker for this kind of image and find the composition interesting.  What’s around the corner? A farm, a vehicle or perhaps an old man with a cane, taking in the morning mist? The photographer correctly leaves this to our imagination. The trees block out much of the white, but also give the softness and weathering in their slant and the branches that match the wear of the roadway. I also like how the wall of rock on the left side of the image is substantial- there’s enough in the composition to keep your eye within the frame. Many inexperienced photographers make the mistake of cutting an object like this to a bare minimum, which weakens the overall impact of the image. The muted colors are also correct and pleasing as well. Overall, this shot is a keeper.

Mason Resnick: It’s hard to go wrong photographing a mountain road going off into the fog, but it’s easy for this kind of shot to turn into a cliché. Fortunately, the balance of the composition, the strong diagonal angle of the trees, the underplayed hint of fog, the subtle tonalities, and the lush green foliage make this photo work. There’s an important lesson here for when you’re on the road and have your camera: Be on the lookout not just for the dramatic vistas you can easily get to via scenic pull-offs, but also for unscheduled, unplanned quiet moments. It’s possible you may not get to your destination, but the pictures you shoot along the way will make the trip worthwhile.

Jack Howard: I can totally identify with David's situation (as I've written about here) and commend his ability to mentally switch gears and make a nice shot of a different subject then was originally intended. I can't really say what I would have done differently, but I do wish there was just a touch more soft detail of trees fading into the background to give  even more of a feel of the density of the fog in the scene.

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