I hate clutter!

These shots were taken on the same day as my previous post on a very foggy day at Ogden Water. In that post I was saying that despite the fog I took more shots than in all my previous visits combined. One of the reasons for this was that the fog made the photos very atmospheric however there is another major reason why fog can help make better images – the lack of clutter.

Ogden Water 6
Ogden Water 6 – click to enlarge

I hate clutter in photographs – it distracts the viewer from the focal point and the beauty of the image. So how do you get rid of these distractions? Well there are various methods that spring to mind:

  • Photoshop the clutter out. This is of course a very effective method but it can be time consuming and in my opinion is a fairly unsatisfactory.
  • Use a longer focal length. Wide angle shots can be great but the wider the angle the more clutter you are likely to see however zooming in may not be what you want from your shot.
  • Crop your image. You could get rid of the clutter by cropping it out but this has the same disadvantages as with using a longer focal length.
  • Use a shallower depth of field. I love shots with a shallow depth of field not only because of the lack of clutter but you may not want this effect or your lens may not be capable of it.
  • Alter your composition. Bit of an obvious one this but in many situations isn’t going to help.
Ogden Water 7
Ogden Water 7 – click to enlarge

So let’s add to that list the use of fog! You can use a wide angle, you can use a deep depth of field, you don’t need to crop stuff out or clone stuff out in Photoshop. Hey presto – a clutter free photograph!

Ogden Water 8
Ogden Water 8 – click to enlarge

Photographers are not the only people to use fog for this reason. Back in the mid 1990s I remember being impressed by a video game called Turok: Dinosaur Hunter (seeĀ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turok:_Dinosaur_Hunter for more details). It was basically a 1st person shooter. I wasn’t particularly impressed by the game itself but what struck me was that the developers had found a clever solution to overcome the limitations of the hardware. The question they had obviously asked themselves was “how do we make this as realistic as possible by making it detailed and fast?”. The answer was to use fog. If the console didn’t need to renderĀ all the background clutter then more detail could be added to the foreground where the player was focused. Ingenious!

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