Fog photography in Amsterdam is a wonderful opportunity to capture compelling and atmospheric stills of the city. It’s a great way to add an extra dimension to your shots with an emphasis on depth, contrast, light and shape of your subjects.
One of the best experiences of cycling around in Amsterdam is when an ominous fog rolls in. The city is utterly transformed, devoured in obscurity while revealing a minimalist grandeur of architecture and canals. It’s arguably my favourite series to date coupled with a usual bicycle motif to create timeless and classic scenes of Amsterdam. It’s compelled me to offer high resolution prints of my photographs as an NFT on OpenSea.
The best time for photographing Fog in Amsterdam
Fog is mixture of condensation and temperature and typically an early morning phenomenon. It’s also more likely to form near water which there is plenty of in Amsterdam.
Mist and fog are terms that are used interchangeably but there is a distinction. Fog is more dense than mist and lasts longer.
Amsterdam can get mist anytime from early as summer but most often during colder autumn days. It will begin to dissipate shortly after sunrise. During the winter months, Amsterdam will can get fog that can last nearly all day.
The best places to photograph fog in Amsterdam
Fog will be more concentrated near the larger bodies of water like the Amstel and IJ. Open spaces around Amsterdam such as parks, bridges like the Skinny Bridge and squares like Museumplein are almost certain to add some nice depth to your fog photography.
There is no doubt a natural inclination to head to the canal belt. I’ve found that the east side of the Grachtengordel along the scenic Reguliersgracht is always a good choice.
Don’t be afraid to breach the city limits. Head to Amsterdamse Bos if you prefer scenes in nature. Or east towards Flevopark along with the Nesciobrug, which can literally disappear in a dense blanket of fog.
Few basic tips when shooting Fog
Fog provides an excellent opportunity to get your creative juices flowing. It’s a time to set aside any inhibitions and to simply observe with your senses. Approaching it with a few tips can help you capture those prized dramatic shots.
1. Go Mobile
As atmosphere changes, so will the fog. Shooting often is important because you will have more of a selection as compositions can quickly change. This is where riding a bike in Amsterdam has huge advantages. There might be just a few hours available to shoot the fog. So cycling through the city provides far more opportunity in discovering new things to capture.
2. Create Depth
Sometimes shots in the fog can look flat and dull. This is because there is less contrast between shadows and highlights. But fog can add some really nice depth to your composition if you layer your shots. Add an object such as a bike or structure in the foreground of your shot. This will help create a nice sense of depth and perspective.
3. Capture Silhouettes
You can add some nice drama and mystery to your shots by shooting silhouettes. For best results, shoot fog with the light coming from behind. If there is too much light, underexpose your image. Working with the light, you can create some real nice contrast shots with a cinematic feel, especially when working in black and white photography.
4. Shoot in RAW
Fog often happens during overcast conditions with dim lighting. This can confuse your camera’s light meter, resulting it to decrease exposure. Photographing in manual is a good option. But if this is too daunting than shooting in RAW will give you much better control in post-processing when adjusting the white balance.
5. Bring a lens cloth
There is a lot of condensation in the air when there is fog. You’ll may notice water droplets forming on your camera and lens. This certainly becomes more noticeable when biking around, so having a camera bag is good idea. But make sure you have a lens cloth with you as you will be often wiping down the front of your lens.
Have fun in just trying
Fog photography in Amsterdam or elsewhere can be a real rewarding experience. Especially in a city where familiar places will be completely transformed. Spend some time to practice and accept that you may get unpredictable results. The fun and magic of photography really comes from the process of just trying. Trust me, it will be worth in the end.