“Fog in the Channel; the continent cut off” is probably the earliest piece of fake news known to man. Or at least to the English gentleman. In case you are not local, the Channel here is the English Channel, a.k.a. Pas de Calais, a.k.a. La Manche (especially if you are Russian), a.k.a. the ditch, especially if you are a Brit. There exists an urban myth that the above quote was a headline in a real English newspaper of the days of yore. Apparently, it demonstrates the islanders’ self-centredness: what was cut off was obviously not the huge continent of Eurasia, but a small island off its coast, separated by only 30 statute miles of water. And the island was isolated because until the start of the aviation era you could only get here by boat.
Boats don’t like sailing in thick fog. Especially if you can stay on either side of the ditch and enjoy, depending on which side, peerless French cuisine with a glass of splendid wine, or a pot of good English ale. Or Irish. Or a wee dram, you catch my drift.
And fog is something that rarely happens here these days. This British Isle used to be known by the quaint name “the Foggy Albion.” But then again, perhaps it, too, is an urban myth — since I have failed, hard as I tried, to find any authentic reference to fog next to Albion, although the latter is very real. Except the Scotts call it Alba and the Irish… well something else. Yet there was a time when Londoners were kept warm in their houses by coal-burning stoves and fireplaces, which produced fine particles of soot floating up and out of the chimneys. The particles served as condensation nuclei for the atmospheric moisture, and no, the climate here is not dry. Not at all. The Metropolis used to be wrapped in a blanket of mist, hence the moniker: the Foggy Albion. That and the Channel fog, also a frequent guest to the white cliffs of Dover and further ashore.
As a matter fact, fog is a rarity in today’s England. I don’t get to see thick fog more than once in several years, if you don’t count early morning fog, which is usually thin and which tends to dissipate by the time you reach your office and stop caring. But when fog comes for real, it’s a photographer’s paradise. Plain landscapes acquire mystic significance, shadows soften up and a gnarled trunk sticking out of a fog bank looks positively portentous.
Sufferers of the Fuji X-Trans sensor, rejoice! The above shot was processed with the latest version of Irident Developer (free demo) and it suddenly sparkled with the kind of visual acuity that Photoshop seemed unable to deliver despite my profuse cursing at it (always helps) and pulling every tab I could find. With Irident, I only had to erase by hand its ugly red watermark, which the software left to encourage me to part with $100 of hard-earned cash — so no pixel peeping!
I might pay that money soon… unless Capture One convinces me I should prefer them. Xmas is coming.
Watch this space.