Embracing the Serenity of a Foggy Day

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved the fog. One of my earlier memories was asking permission to go for a walk, by myself, on a foggy day. My mother didn’t understand why I wanted to – I believe ‘nuts’ was the word she used – but she said it was okay, and off I went. I stayed within the village, although I went all the way to the far side, a whopping 1.5km away. Even at that age, I was a bit of a hiker, so my walks tended to be both destinatnion oriented and at a pretty good clip. But that day, my steps slowed, and instead I strolled, fascinated both by the stillness and how different everything looked.

That experience stuck with me, and in the years that followed, whenever I could, I’d go out for a walk when it was foggy.

And then I got a camera.

I’d moved to Ottawa by that point, with a house in suburbia and a couple of dogs. There was a dog park near where I lived, and one day when it was foggy out, I left the husband and dogs at home, and went to the park to try my hand at taking photos in the fog.

I’d gone alone because I wanted to be able to focus on the photography, and keeping an eye on my dogs around a pack of strange ones would have to be the priority if they were there. But I needn’t have worried. There wasn’t a soul – human or canine – to be seen.

Maybe all the people who stayed away that day would have called me nuts, too. But I’m okay with that. It did give me the place to myself, after all.

When I moved to the east coast, it was like stepping into a little slice of foggy heaven. The fog could be good in Ottawa, but it didn’t happen very often. Here? Here you see it all the time, and it’s glorious.

Not long after I got my first digital camera, I mentioned to Ron that one day, I’d like to take photos of Lake Echo in the fog. I drove by that lake twice a day on my commute, and when it was spectacular in the fog. Always one to take my whims seriously, one morning not long after, Ron nudged me awake and said it would be a perfect time to take pictures at Lake Echo.

I was not a morning person at that point, so my response was … negative. And it involved no words. I continued to communicate in cranky grunts as he made the suggestion a couple more times, until he got a bit cranky himself, and told me to go ahead and miss my chance.

Ten minutes later, we were in the car.

And it was well fucking worth it.

That day, I watched the world change in front of my eyes, as the sun rose and the fog burned off. Watching fog move is fascinating, and as it dissipates, it goes from being an impenetrable blanket to visible tendrils that twist and swirl and, by the end, look as if they’re running away from the sun. If you ever have the chance to watch fog change, I highly recommend it.

Perhaps my favourite place to take foggy photos, though, is at Point Pleasant Park. I love it because it’s got a little bit of everything in one spot. There are, of course, a million opportunities for nature shots.

Plus there are lots of animals.

And there are always people about, as well, as people in Halifax don’t seem to avoid the fog in the same way Ottawans always did.

On top of which, there’s the Ceres terminal next door, with cranes that loom out of the fog like some sort of invading alien mechs.

These days, a venture into the fog means a backpack full of cameras and lenses and tripods. But for part of every outing, I put all the gear away and remember to experience it, unfiltered and uncomplicated. Like I did when I was a little girl who loved to walk alone in the fog, all those years ago.

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