No Atmosphere? Create It.

The Lodger (1944)

Here on the island an occasional  fog rolls in. Rarely, the thick, cut-it-with-a-knife fog you get in London or San Francisco, but moody and mysterious all the same. Shooting in fog is tricky, as the exposure has to be dead-on or you get a big blow out. You also need a rain cover for the camera.  Alas, there was no fog in town the night I was shooting Zoom Noir recently, but I figured I could always add it in post. You can create it from scratch in Photoshop with the airbrush and a low opacity setting, or use a plug-in like Tiffen Dfx v. 2 as I did in the photo below.

from San Diego Noir

I like how the fog mutes the colors in the image. However, if you want an authentic 1940s Film Noir effect you’ll go with black and white.

fog_jolt-bw

To match the shot at the top from the film The Lodger (1944), I tried increasing the contrast but as you can see (below) much of the fog effect is lost as the light area gets brighter.

fog_jolt_bw2

I burned-in around the figure to darken the blacks. Note that the figure in the film still is not in the fog, but it’s above and behind him. I applied a dark sepia filter to the color version  using Nik Silver Efex Pro

 

fog_jolt-sepia

Here it’s the grain in the image that adds to the effectiveness, not the fog. So, finally, I simply added grain to the color image and was satisfied for the time being.

fog_jolt-noise

But I’m still waiting for the real thing…

 

fog

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