a word on fog
One question I've been getting a lot this spring is, "Jeff, when will we have good fog?"
The answer is, well, almost every day! It just depends what you're looking for.
Fog chasing, even more than sunrise/sunset, is going to require you to spend some time researching and scouting, and driving around. There is no way around this. It's part of the journey!
I will explain some details of fog formation and flow in a separate post this week. This one is designed to motivate you to get out there, explore, and see one of the most magnificent phenomena the bay area has to offer.
The Escaype app and bot posts are for sunrise and sunset clouds, and do not yet reflect good fog conditions. (We're hoping to add fog maps in the next few weeks.) For most of the best fog conditions, the bot will post 0/0 or 70/70, and the heat map will show nothing. This is not what it is designed to do.
Many of the best foggy scenes will come with fewer clouds, not more clouds. A 100/0 above fog can actually be less spectacular because there is much less of a window for light on the fog. For fog waves, a couple wispy clouds might be all you need. For intimate scenes, light beams, etc, blue skies will yield the strong light you need.
Very few of the above images were planned -- in fact, only two of them were. The rest came from driving or walking around near the fog line when it was at heights anywhere from 400' to 2000', stopping where things were happening. Some are from the Santa Cruz mountains, some from the Marin mountains, some from east bay hills and San Francisco.
OK, So, the other most common thing I hear is, "But Jeff, I don't know any good spots for fog."
All you need is some basic knowledge of the topography of the bay area. Head to an area around the fog line, cruise around, and you will very likely find something. Most of the above images were not made at popular viewpoints, or well-known photography locations. Knowing their exact location would be meaningless, because the best scenes will be in a different place on any given day.
Refer to our Fog Chaser's Guide for some approximate areas to check out, but your best resource will be to pull out some maps, look for elevations, and when fog starts to hit that area, get cruising. If places mentioned in the guide are far away from you, check the hills near you -- you'll probably find some great spots practically in your backyard! If you live in the south bay, for example, cruise around the hills there for foggy sunrises. If you live in the north bay or SF, you have foggy heaven in your backyard -- and it's not just Tam. If you live in the east bay, high fog will frequently reach your area in the mornings. If you live on the peninsula, there are amazing mountains behind your house. Why drive two hours to collect a stamp over and over, when there are great conditions waiting for you in your backyard?
Remember, we are a weather service, but not a bay area tour service. We are here to help you nail the weather conditions you need for your shots. Please don't DM us for location suggestions. You are welcome to exchange information in your group, though, of course. Fog is one of the gifts of summer in the bay area, and we hope to see you out there taking advantage of it!