Foggy Morning at Stumpy Lake

Jan 14, 2022

About Stumpy Lake

Stumpy Lake is a 278 acre cypress-lined lake located at the Stumpy Lake Natural Area in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Stumpy Lake Natural Area consists of 1,422 acres with an ADA compliant pier with kayak/canoe launch. In addition, there are 1.65 miles of earthen trails among a wooded area. Stumpy Lake Natural Area provides for a range of recreational activities such as hiking, kayaking/canoeing, bird watching, and plenty of photographing opportunities year-round.

Photographing Foggy Scenes of Stumpy Lake

Whether it is a planned or happen upon circumstance, foggy mornings can add a lot of drama to your photos. This foggy morning at Stumpy Lake was unplanned. I just woke up and noticed the fog. I was on the way down to Dismal Swamp area to do some conservation photography. When I saw the fog, I thought it would be great to photograph the fog on Stumpy Lake.

When shooting foggy scenes there are certain tips that will help you make better and sharper images with the fog in your scenes. First, I would mount my camera on a tripod. I would use a Neutral Density (ND) Filter which I did on the scene below. The ND filters will help smooth out the fog. I use the Singh-Ray ND filters in various densities from 1 stop to 3 stop. I like to experiment with my filters to find the mood that I wish to photograph. Most often, the time of day and whether the sun is shining through the fog will dictate which ND density you would want to use.

Foggy Morning on Stumpy Lake with Cypress trees during the winter at Stumpy Lake Natural Area in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Winter Foggy Morning on Stumpy Lake Natural Area in Virginia Beach, Virginia. In photographing this image I used a Singh-Ray Neutral Density (ND) filter to capture the mood of this scene.

Also, when photographing fog scenes you want to add some exposure compensation such as +1 to +2. Most importantly, when the fog is really thick you want to use manual focus instead of autofocus. Autofocus maybe very hard to select a focus point due to the fog conditions.

Great Blue Herons at Stumpy Lake

On this last day of 2021, the foggy morning at Stumpy Lake made it fun to create new and different moods of the wildlife. As always at Stumpy Lake, there were a lot of great blue herons on various perches in Stumpy Lake. So, of course, I took a lot of different images of the herons with the fog. For the wildlife, I did use my big lens and was able to autofocus on the wildlife since the birds were closer to me in my frame.

Great blue heron (Ardea herodias) standing on a log in the water at Stumpy Lake on a winter morning At the Stumpy Lake Natural Area in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Great blue heron (Ardea herodias) standing on a log in the water at Stumpy Lake. The great blue heron who actually was close to the shore and not surrounded in fog. For the particular image, I did in post processing use dehaze to make the colors of the heron stand out more.

Wildlife in Less Foggy Scenes

Toward the edge, the fog was not as thick as it was in the middle of Stumpy Lake. This was helpful to photograph the wildlife life using autofocus. There were about a dozen or so hooded mergansers that kept swimming back and forth near the shoreline just in front of cypress trees. The hooded mergansers stayed a little too far away to photograph them up close. However, I did capture this image of a male hooded merganser that came fairly close to the shoreline near me.

Male Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) swimming in Stumpy Lake on a foggy winter morning  at Stumpy Lake Natural Area in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Male Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) swimming in Stumpy Lake on a winter morning. As you see, there was not much fog here closer to the shoreline. I decided to photograph this hooded merganser drake smaller in the frame to show the merganser in his habitat.

Another bird that was swimming in Lake Stumpy was the double-crested cormorant. Like the scene I photographed in my header image of this post, the cormorants added to the foggy scene with their dark coloring against the white of the fog.

Double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) flapping wings in the water on a foggy winter morning at Stumpy Lake Natural Area in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) flapping wings in the water on a foggy winter morning at Stumpy Lake Natural Area in Virginia Beach, Virginia. In this photograph, I used the fog over the water as my background.

Wildlife in Foggy Scenes

Finally, on this foggy morning at Stumpy Lake, I saw a great egret and great blue heron standing quite a distance away from me and amongst the fog in the lake. I used my big lens, Sigma 150-600mm, to capture the more scenic look of wildlife in the fog.

Great egret (Ardea alba) and great blue heron (Ardea herodias) in the water on a very foggy winter morning at Stumpy Lake Natural Area in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Great egret (Ardea alba) and great blue heron (Ardea herodias) in the water on a very foggy winter morning at Stumpy Lake Natural Area in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Thank you for reading my Field Notes Blog, and I hope you will share this post with others.

Let’s protect our wildlife and nature!

All the very best,

Lori

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4 replies to “Foggy Morning at Stumpy Lake

  1. OMG! What a fantastic collection of foggy morning shots! Those images are all so excellent! You are very creative! Bravo!!! Great blog post and info, too!

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