Lucky photos in the Fog

I began my morning driving to Lake Puckaway in patchy fog.  As I drove over the Lake Butte des Morts Bridge on Hwy 41 I noticed an amazing wall of fog over the lake.  I thought I should stop and photograph it, but I did not know where to go to be able to capture the scene.  I decided to drive on, time was going to be short today and I didn’t have time stop and take photographs. I wasn’t really set up for it anyway.  I had my Sony a65v and sigma 17-70mm and cheep Sony 70-300mm and no tripod.  Today was about work, I was going to Lake Puckaway to sample the water for nutrients and other basic water quality parameters, and photography was an afterthought.

Fog off the North Shore of Lake Puckaway

When I pulled up to the lake about an hour later I could see the dense fog hanging over the lake.  The air temperature was hovering just at the freezing mark, there was frost on the boat, but the lake was 49ºF  and so there was thick fog.  I decided to go out on the water anyway.  After venturing out in the soup visibility got much worse.  I could barely see 50 ft., it was eerie, and if it were not for the GPS I would have no idea where I was, or where I was going. From where I put in the water  I had about five miles to travel to my first sampling location through that thick fog.  I moved slowly, about twice idle speed, occasionally stopping in the calm water to listen for other boats, but I heard none.

Eventually, the fog began to lift.  As it did the sun became just visible.  I looked up at it, it was one of those unusual times where it was so dim, I could have looked at it all day without squinting.  As I looked I immediately noticed sunspots! Not one, but several, and one was so huge, I thought for a minute I must have been mistaken, but it wasn’t.   I knew from my email updates that there was a huge sunspot, as large as Jupiter, and the largest in years currently on the face of the Sun.  The name of the sunspot, if you can call it a name, is  AR2192.

A dim sun emerges from the fog making sunspots clearly visible to the naked eye. The giant sunspot is AR2192, the largest in years

After looking for a few moments I grabbed my Sony a65v -slt out of my pelican case, put on the 70-300mm set it to manual focus and took some photos.  They came out well enough.  I knew the photos would be flat, and have a cool cast, and I worried that they would be blurry from using telephoto, without a tripod, on a moving boat.  I took the shots anyway, it is not everyday I can see sunspots with the naked eye.  The photos turned out ok, they are really nothing to write home about, but they are a record of what I saw, and I am happy to share them.  Back at home I cropped the photo of the sunspot, converted it to gray-scale to avoid fighting with the drab color cast, and made adjustments to contrast etc. to make the sunspots a little more pronounced.

A strange bright white lens-shape phenomenon.

As I finally neared my destination the fog began to lift further, and both sun and fog provided a glimpse of another phenomenon.   The sun, now bright, stuck the dwindling fog and created this large lens of bright white light.  I am struggling to describe it in words, and probably the photos do it better service.  Soon after the appearance of this bright white light I was at work with my sampling equipment, noting the water clarity, dissolved oxygen etc., and the next time I looked up it was blue sky, and there were just a few wisps of fog miles away on the other side of the lake.  The work day had just begun.

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