After 8 years of experimentation, photographer Nicholas Steinberg has perfected the art of fog photography. Based in the San Francisco Bay area, Steinberg is one of many “Fogaholics” who are glued to the weather reports, just waiting for fog to roll in. As a result, he’s always ready to capture these misty waves at any elevation.
Mt. Tamalpais is the location for this stunning series, with a cottony blanket of clouds billowing over the landscape. Sitting at 2,572 feet in elevation, it’s the perfect vantage point to shoot summer fog. During this season, the inland heat pushes the mist upward, usually above 1,000 feet. Steinberg discovered that from Mt. Tamalpais, he is able to look down upon the city, catching the smooth clouds wash over it.
“Mt. Tam allows you to get, ‘above it all’ and is literally heaven on earth as you feel on top of the world or almost on an airplane looking down on clouds,” Steinberg shares. “What I discovered from hundreds of trips up there is, when the fog rolls through and is at the perfect height and density, it will create wave-like movements as it contours the land. This is where I coined the term ‘Fog Waves’ as it literally looks like waves that resemble the ocean.”
After passing hours on the mountain, Steinberg’s collection of fog photography captures the fiery red sky of sunset and the pale pink hues of sunrise. Evergreen trees pop through the waves, and in the darkness tiny lights remind us of human life down below. The smooth flow seen in the images is due to the different shutter speeds the photographer uses. Neutral density filters trick the camera into thinking it’s evening. Therefore, he’s able to shoot up to two minutes to get perfectly smooth waves. Patience is key to his work, with the dreamy results well worth the wait.
All images via Nicholas Steinberg