At the end of my first week spent working downtown, I am profoundly tired. It’s the first time I’ve had to wake up before dawn for work in a long time, and I’m feeling it in my bones. I’m rarely happy getting in the car before sunrise unless I’m going somewhere exciting, and Friday morning rush hour hardly affords me that level of anticipation.
But today, instead of the sun rising off the side of the freeway as usual, the air is filled with mist and haze — fog illuminated in purples and oranges as the sun begins the task of melting it away.
I’ve loved fog as long as I can remember. I grew up in the country; on a clear day, you could see for miles. We had epic sunsets and watched Oklahoma storms roll in across cow pastures. At night, the sky was filled with stars. It’s humbling to grow up in a place that makes you feel so tiny. Foggy days, however, made the world feel a whole lot smaller. The distance vanished into haze and the surroundings faded into greyness, leaving a tiny snow-globe of a world. In those moments, things feel finite, and the scope of our existence pulls close.
I always loved taking photographs in the fog. At night, the world feels dream-like; lights appear as fuzzy orbs, as if the night itself is out of focus. I learned to capture those foggy nights the way I saw them, and I felt a kind of expression I’d never imagined before. In college, I’d go walking at 2 or 3 in the morning with my 35mm camera and a tripod. I wandered down alleys and across the deserted campus, the only other people out and about too drunk to even notice me. In a weird way I learned photography backwards, starting with long exposures in the mist — not exactly the most forgiving kind of pictures to take, especially on film. There’s just something about the ethereal way the world looks in fog that captivates and inspires me.
On my tired Friday morning I park in the lot, turn off the car and step outside into a world of saturated gray. That morning, I’d packed my camera, expecting to take a walk and take some photos downtown at lunch. I took a photo of the city skyline dissolving into the foggy sky and wondered what it felt like to be in the top of one of those buildings, the normal vista shrouded, views turned inward. By lunch, it was sunny. I stayed inside.
This photo is part of 52 Weeks of Happy, a photo project in collaboration with my friend Nicky Smith.