“A foggy day in Maine is better than a sunny day at work!” ~Anonymous
While taking a walk around Ocean Point, you may have seen this quote in a cottage window by Grimes Cove. Do you agree with it?
Fog can create havoc for travelers and when people plan their Maine vacations, they certainly don’t wish for fog! However, the ethereal mist can have a mesmerizing effect on you as you watch it travel up and down a river as you enjoy a cold beverage on the deck of a local restaurant or as it shrouds a nearby lighthouse on your morning walk.
According to The Weather Guys at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, “A fog is just a cloud at the ground. Fog formation can occur in two ways. First, the air is cooled to the dew point which leads to the formation of fog droplets. When the air temperature is the same as the dew point temperature, condensation occurs on tiny particles floating in the air. The second method of fog formation requires water to evaporate from the surface into the air, raising the dew point until condensation occurs.
Fog often dissipates with daylight. This is sometimes referred to as the fog “burning off” but that analogy is not correct. When the sun rises, the air and ground warm up. This leads to the air temperature being warmer than the dew point temperature, which causes the fog droplets to evaporate.”
Steam fog, or sea smoke is formed as very cold air moves over warmer water. We observe sea smoke over the Atlantic Ocean in New England when the air temperature is below 10°F. Photographing sea smoke is not for the faint of heart! Two years ago, on February 13th, 2016, I decided to photograph Whaleback Lighthouse off the coast of Kittery, Maine. It was 12° but I was convinced there would be sea smoke. I drove up to Great Island Common in New Castle, NH at sunrise and . . . no sea smoke! On February 14th I woke up at 5 a.m. and it was 7° with a windchill of -38°. I decided to wait until 8 a.m. when it was only -35°, not that it makes a difference at those temps! I dressed in layer after layer, packed my camera equipment into the car and make the trek again. Thankfully the wind was at my back. I set up my tripod and took a few shots before retreating to my car ever few minutes. It was well worth the trip and even though I checked it off my bucket list I am still waiting for the right moment to photograph a golden glowing sunrise behind the sea smoke! You can read more about The Science of Sea Smoke here.
I was at Ocean Point over MLK weekend and as I looked out my window at 7 a.m. there was sea smoke! YES! I was lucky to photograph the rarest and most beautiful type of Maine fog once again. Maybe I’ll capture that golden glow of sunrise sea smoke when I’m there in February!
So if you travel to Maine and experience a little fog, immerse yourself in it and enjoy the view! It can truly be breathtaking!