The Stillness and Mystery of Fog

Quietly settling, and still a bit mysterious, fog makes a great backdrop for photography.

Boats in the fog, Morro Bay, California

It was an early Thursday morning and the air was as still as it could have been. No breeze at all.

This is rare on the coast, and I was in the little town of Morro Bay, California.

My dad brought the family to Morro Bay when I was about 10 years old and the memory of that place had never faded. The quaint coastal buildings, the ever-present fog, and that huge rock covered in bird poo.

I know for a fact it isn’t called “Bird Poo Rock” although that is a perfectly good descriptive name for this monolithic monument to the excessive bowel movements of coastal fowl.

It is called “Morro Rock”. Seriously.

Morro Bay.
Morro Rock.
Morro Creek.
Morro Beach.

The folks who moved here early in the 18th century were very pragmatic.

“What’ll we name that big shit-covered rock?”

“Well, we are in Morro, so we will call it “Morrow Rock”.

“Cool. Can we go fishin’ now?”

Anyway, I do not want this to be a treatise on that giant pile of… (OK, I’m done.)

This was a magnificent morning and not one to be brought down by the site or smell of “Grand Dung Mountain”.

Totally quiet. Fog does that, you know. It dampens the sound waves and can make a most eery silence. It’s like all the sounds you hear are coming from inside you rather than from the milky and wet environment.

There were boats in the little harbor (no doubt called Morro Harbor, or Morro Park Your Boat Place… or whatever.)

A very colorful boat in the dense whiteout of fog.

I loved the way the boats seemed to be slipping in and out of existence as the fog moved around them.

And there was no background, no horizon. It was as if there were a giant white backdrop (Savage, Morro White, 0,0,0, Bigass Width BAW:000) and the boats were just sitting there waiting to be photographed.

Probably on their phones discussing another shoot with their agent, or checking on their TikTok status and smiling while watching another boat do some bad choreography to insipid pop tunes.

Well, they could be.

Sailboat in Morro Bay, California

To me, they looked like they were simply waiting.

Waiting for what?
Waiting for who?

Maybe for me to get the right lens on the camera so I could make the shot I wanted. I was being very careful on the little floating dock as I tend to drop stuff, and dropping a 135mm f2 into Morro Bay from Morro Dock off the Morro Edge would have been Morro Disastrous.

I got it done and stood still for a moment. No, not to be at one with the fog, nor to take in the incredible view or even to be overtaken by the gentle stillness of the scene.

No, I stopped moving because I had created ripples in the water — ripples I did not want in the foreground of my photos — and the dock was sorta moving.

To. And Fro.

After a few moments, the floating strand stopped its dancing and rippling and we both returned to the deafening silence of the foggy bay.

So still and with very little disturbances in the water, AKA my foreground.

I had to capture a few images before the fog lifted and revealed a background of a massive rock piled with… (I’m sorry, no more. I mean it this time.)

The mysterious landscape lasted but for a few minutes before the warm sun began to burn it away with the precision of a drunk Orthopedist removing a big toe from the wrong foot.

We packed up to go, but I noticed the stillness of the water where the little dingy boats were tied and the composition simply leaped out at me. Scary when that happens, but one must respond.

Small boats on Morro Bay, tied to Morro Dock with Morro rope… I dunno…

All in all, it was a lovely morning. The kind where you see something different and are able to capture that moment with almost magic. That morning may never appear to me again, but I have a visual representation right here. Mine.

Morro Bay is where you start to go north on the infamous Highway 1. At least this is the along-the-coast part. The cool part.

As we left, the sun was victorious over the fog, once again claiming its win by flooding the area with bright, clear sunlight.

I mile or so up the road, I could not make out the boats in the harbor anymore. The little town was a jumble of colors and designs.

The only thing that I could see was this massive, huge rock just sitting there covered with…

Yeah, I promised. So, let’s just say I saw Morro Rock, and leave it at that.

I am a photographer, designer, and photo editor. You can find me at my self-named website or at Project 52 Pro System (enrollment begins January 6, 2023) where I teach commercial photography online. This is our tenth year of teaching, and it is the most unique online class you will find anywhere.

Check out my newsletter and community at Substack. We are new, but growing.

You can find my books on Amazon, and I have taught two classes at CREATIVELIVE.



Designer. Photographer. Author. Entrepreneur: Loving life at 100MPH. I love designing, making photographs and writing.

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Don Giannatti

Designer. Photographer. Author. Entrepreneur: Loving life at 100MPH. I love designing, making photographs and writing.