I forget what had prompted me to look at weather.com last night, but we had a dense fog advisory in addition to our omnipresent high pollen advisory. The fog was slated to roll in around 3 a.m. Eastern.
At a few minutes after 3 Mary and I headed outside into 60 degrees F, 97 percent humidity, and near-silence. I set up my camera and tripod while Mary observed the slow drip of heavy dew.
I aimed my first shot up our street (shown above).
I aimed my second shot across the street. Conditions were so dark that my camera couldn't focus, and I ended up with a black rectangle. Once I downloaded the photo, I could bring out this detail by manipulating brightness, contrast, and gamma:
For the third shot, I aimed my camera through our dwarf elm branches.
I often rode the Staten Island Ferry late at night when I was in grad school. On foggy nights we'd have a stretch, after the Manhattan and Brooklyn lights had faded and before the Staten Island lights appeared, when the only visible light came from the ferry itself.
No stars. I could glimpse water close to the boat -- one could stand outside in those days -- before that, too, faded.
I could imagine, without much effort, that the ferry and its passengers were all that remained in the universe. Our otherwise mundane journey had taken on a mythical quality.
About 20 years later, Mary and I stood on the shore at Carson Beach in South Boston and watched in wonder as fog dropped a curtain to the water. Dorchester Bay met the sand at our feet and we could follow it out a little way. Then it vanished behind a gray wall fringed in short tendrils where the fog met the water.
Both those experiences informed the opening to Chapter 34 in Deviations Vol. 2, Appetite:
"Fog swallowed the lanterns. Piri watched them advance in a line down the boardwalk, dwindle quickly, and disappear. The sky itself roiled, dropping thick, pulsing curtains to the water's edge. Illuminated ripples expanded under the stilts, clear to her sight until they reached a wall of gray vapor trailing a ragged edge. Then they dropped into nothingness."