Sonoran Desert Fog

On Sunday, February 1st we had an amazing dense fog here in the Sonoran Desert.  So dense, you could only see about 100 feet in front of you.  I left my house about an hour before sunrise and driving out to the desert was certainly a challenge.  There is a gallery of 19 images at the end of this post, you can click on each to see a larger version. The Sonoran Desert typically does not have dense fog, certainly a rare occasion and I was excited for such a photographic opportunity!

fog in the Sonoran Desert with trees and path

My first shot was right next to where I parked.  I have seen this sidewalk and trees before, but too much clutter is typically in the background.  On this morning, a much different scene with the fog eliminating all the clutter.  While processing this image I tried several variations, color, black and white, adding a layer of texture and finally chose split tone.


fog in the Sonoran Desert

l chose a trail that was new to me. It is a new trail and not officially open, however, a few days before I asked a some men working on the trail when it would be open.  They stated it would be March before it officially opened.  I stated there were some large saguaros that I wanted to photograph and they said to it would be fine for me to do that as the trail is marked.  Why did I choose this trail?  The trail is flat and winding with many large saguaros.  I enjoy using the curvy trails as leading lines in my images.  Also, this trail leads east and I was hoping for some surreal images once the sun rose. Hiking this trail alone, I was on alert for coyotes and javelina.  I could hear the birds waking up and calling, but I couldn’t see them.  As I wasn’t familiar with the trail, I turned around after making several images and headed to a trail I have photographed several times in the last few weeks.  Once the sun came up, the fog quickly burned off.  It was as if I had been put on another planet with the fog turning from gray to yellow.

spider web covered in dew drops

After the sun broke through the fog you could see the desert was glittered with dew drops.  Looking at all of the vegetation sparkle, especially when backlit, was breathtaking.  I was seeing spider webs that I had never seen before, but walked by many times.  They looked like jeweled necklaces and were stunning.  Although I had planned on shooting landscapes, I couldn’t pass up getting out my macro lens to photograph the dew drops.  By this time the trail was quite busy with hikers and cyclists.  Not the best when you have your tripod set up for macro photography.  The sun was rising quick and I hadn’t brought my diffuser/reflector with me and the beautiful sidelight was quickly becoming top light, not the light a photographer wants.

What a year 2015 is turning out to be – January 1st we had an unusual amount of snow, February 1st an unusual dense fog, what will March 1st bring?   I am so very fortunate to have been able to experience and photograph the dense fog and snow in the Sonoran Desert!



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