Fog layer height

Fog Height

The revolution for landscape photographers who love to shoot “over the sea of fog”. VIEWFINDRs fog height parameter forecasts, fog layer position and altitude to easily point out which photo spots to visit. In the mountains or hilly landscape. Join VIEWFINDR today for more success in landscape photography.

Viewfindr Wetter

Understand the parameter

VIEWFINDRs fog height algorithm shows dense fog and high fog between 20m and 1500m altitude which occurs in correlation with a high pressure inversion. It does not show low clouds which occur together with rainy weather. See the example images.

Fog height

Every colour represents a specific fog height. Check the scale to translate the colour into the forecasted fog height.

Fog position

The fog will be seen as colourful opaque pixel layer on the map. The position of fog correlates with the position of valleys in the mountains as the fog layer fills out the valley.

Base Map

Choose the “Outdoor” base map. Now you can see the altitude of mountains. If the fog height is lower than the surrounding mountains, you can visit the tops to see the sea of fog.

Understand the parameter

VIEWFINDRs fog height algorithm shows dense fog and high fog between 20m and 1500m altitude which occurs in correlation with a high pressure inversion. It does not show low clouds which occur together with rainy weather. See the example images.

Fog position

The fog will be seen as colourful opaque pixel layer on the map. The position of fog correlates with the position of valleys in the mountains as the fog layer fills out the valley.

Fog height

Every colour represents a specific fog height. Check the scale to translate the colour into the forecasted fog height.

Base Map

Choose the “Outdoor” base map. Now you can see the altitude of mountains. If the fog height is lower than the surrounding mountains, you can visit the tops to see the sea of fog.

“Fog Height” Tutorial

Play Video about Fog-height-App

Fog Height Tutorial

Fog height forecast with "Dense Fog" parameter

Dense fog is extended nationwide, can be found in cities and fills entire river valleys. The parameter shows the location of dense fog, as well as the height of the top, measured from sea level. For local fog veils and local fog fields, please refer to the “Fog” parameter.

Dense fog forms when the layer of air near the ground cools down. The humidity in the air increases until fog forms. Dense fog can only form in regions where there is a clear difference between winter and summer. The long nights in winter ensure that the air on the ground can cool down.

When the sun shines only briefly during the day, it does not have enough power to dissipate the fog. Dense fog can therefore persist for several days. The season for dense fog is the fall and winter months. In the spring and summer months, dense fog very rarely occurs after special events, such as abundant rain during the day followed by a starry, windless night.

Fog height App
Foggy day with "Fog" Parameter

The “Fog” parameter will always show a much greater area covered in fog, compared to the “Dense Fog” parameter. If the layer of fog has a thickness below ~50m with a clear, visibly sky or if the fog is just small area of waft on grassland, the fog will only by forecasted by the “Fog” parameter.

fog heigh forecast for landscape photographers

The fog will always be the thickest in the center of thre forecasted area, which will be covered with fog. It is always a smooth transition between areas with no fog into the center of the fog layer, where the thickest fog will be located. 

Foggy day with "Dense Fog" Parameter

If a layer of fog is forecasted to have a thickness greater than ~50m, the layer will be forecasted by the “Dense Fog” weather parameter. It is important to always compare both parameters to know how thick the fog layer will be. In the example, the “Fog” parameter covers a greater area, compared to the area which is covered by the “Dense Fog” parameter. 

weather fog map
The color overlay

This marks the location of fog. The color value can be translated into the height of the top of the fog using the scale. When the color overlay loads, this is indicated by the white circle at the bottom right of the display. If there is no fog in a particular region, the map will remain empty. Therefore, an empty map does not mean that the parameter has not been loaded.

The scale cannot be read exactly, this is intentional to show some uncertainty in the exact fog height. The scale can be used to decipher the color value and make it readable by humans. The unit is [m] above sea level.

scale fog color
fog weather app
The Eye Tool

This tool can be used to show and hide the overlay for the parameter to better examine the map.

Accuracy of forecast

The parameter has an accuracy of about +/- 50m. For the very low fog heights in the range of 50-200m, the deviation is lower.

Subjects above the fog

The purpose of the parameter is to take typical photos above the “sea of fog”. For this purpose, a photo spot must be selected whose height above sea level is higher than the specified top of the fog.

For this purpose the search mask for the Views can be set to “Weather specific”. Only the photo spots that can be photographed well in dense fog can be seen.

The height of the photo spot can be determined with the help of the background map “Outdoor”. To do this, read the contour lines at the marked location of the view on the map. The view should be higher than the top of the fog so as not to be in or under the fog.

find a photospot for fog photography
Changing forecast time

The time bar at the bottom of the map can be used to set the time of the forecast. The times shown always refer to the time zone of your smartphone. It makes sense to look for dense fog at sunrise first. In the winter months, you should also pay attention to the evening hours, because dense fog can also occur in the evening. In the summer months, you can do without this.

change time of weather forecast fog height
Small, local valleys

The weather model has a limited resolution. Small mountain valleys can therefore not be predicted correctly. However, it is possible to interpolate very well. If there is fog in close proximity in another, much larger valley, then that valley can be used as a reference. The prerequisite is that both valleys have the same characteristics.

The height above sea level of the valley bottom should be about the same, because only then it makes sense that the fog is also present in the small valley. Example: If the fog in the large valley is 1000m high, then the valley bottom of the small, adjacent valley must naturally be below 1000m.

In the example shown, you can clearly see that the fog is not drawn into the narrow valleys. However, since these narrow valleys have about the same altitude as the large valley, it makes sense for the fog to penetrate into these small valleys as well.

use fog for landscape photography

Common things about weather forecast you should know!

Computer Simulation

The weather forecast in VIEWFINDR is a computer simulation that very realistically forecasts the coming weather. However, the forecast is not exactly the reality and there will be deviations.

In VIEWFINDR new weather data is provided every 3h. For example, if you check for the probability of afterglow after sunset in the morning hours, the forecast will change several times over day. This is perfectly normal and that’s a good thing!

The closer the deadline, i.e. the sunset in the evening, the smaller the deviation of the computer simulation from reality becomes. The forecast becomes more precise. Before you finally set out to take pictures, you should therefore take another look at the current forecast.

You should therefore check the forecast again before you start your photography tour to see, if the probability is still high. Don’t be mad if the forecast probability changed into worse, it probably saved you from a bad outcome!

The weather forecast in VIEWFINDR is limited to 24h for local weather models and 72h for continental weather models. It is not useful to look into the future for a longer period of time. The forecast becomes inaccurate and is not reliable. Weather apps that allow forecasts of more than 3 days but do not provide any indication that the forecast is extremely inaccurate are a disgrace. This gives the impression that weather forecasting does not work. But weather forecasting works very well, even if not more than 72h into the future.

Weather Data Resolution

Just as the resolution of your camera is limited, i.e. it cannot take an “infinitely” sharp photo, the resolution of the weather model is also limited. This is 2.8km for Central European weather data and 7km for European weather data.

Structures and features of the landscape that are not that large are averaged by the model. For example, if a mountain is 800m high, and the valley next to it is 400m high, then the landscape for the weather model in that “pixel” is 600m high, corresponding to the average altitude.

This means that small structures, like narrow mountain valleys or local small river valleys cannot be properly captured by the model. This is not a problem, you just have to learn to deal with it. If a valley in the mountains is much smaller than the resolution of our weather model, then you have to interpolate.

Small valleys always end in larger valleys. You can therefore use the weather in the next larger valley as a good reference for the weather in a smaller, adjacent valley. In the example, you can see that the large valley is filled with fog. It is almost certain that the small valley is also filled with fog.

Due to the limited resolution, it makes sense not to use too much zoom. It is important that you look at the overall context. Therefore, consider the weather forecast not only for your location, but at least for the entire region where you are shooting.

best app for photo spots

This example show how the weather model sees the landscape. It is pixelated because of the limited resolution.

weather forecast for photo spots

Due to limited resolution, this layer of low clouds/fog will not indicate fog in valleys with a size below the resolution.

Link a photospot

When uploading a new photospot you guide other photographers. Connecting a photospot to the fog height parameter is not “making a wish”. Only connect photospots which actually can be photographed with a sea of fog. Look at our example images. Recognize the difference between screening smoke and a sea of fog, which consists of much more dense fog. 

Wetterparameter

How the algorithm works

VIEWFINDR has developed two algorithms for fog which both exclude each other. Fog height parameter is for dense fog which fills up whole valleys. The other parameter is the screening smoke probability, which is a probability of finding local, thin layers of screening smoke laying over grassland our moor.

The algorithm calculates 3D position of cloud layers between ca. 20m and 1500m altitude. It excludes rain and snowfall to only show cloud layers which are real fog. It guarantees that there are no other clouds over the layer of fog. An exception applies to rain free mid and high altitude clouds which can still be found over the layer of fog but which don’t border your shooting.

The calculation is numeric and not a probability. The weather model on which the algorithm is based calculates the best solution where the fog layer will be.

Our Weather parameters

Burning red sky

Based on 3D cloud, rain and sun position we calculate red afterglow propability.

Fog layer height

Know which mountaintops to visit for “over the cloud” shots of photospots.

Thunderstorm cells

Numerical calculation of storm position relative to photospots.

Clear night sky

See which nightscape photospots will have a clear night the next days.

water reflection

Find perfect water reflections for your landscape photos.

Visible sunriseset

Cloudfree sunrises are more beuatiful than grey skies in the morning! We forecast them.

Structured sky

We forecast the perfect amount of cloud cover for long exposure photography.

Photo contrast App

You don’t need grey skies. We forecast when the sun is shining at your photospot.

Blue hour

Forecasting when the blue hour has no clouds in the sky with perfect light conditions.

Screening smoke

A fine layer of fog in the grassland is pretty nice to shoot. We forecast the propability.

Weather parameters

Burning red sky

Burning red sky

Based on 3D cloud, rain and sun position we calculate red afterglow propability.

Fog layer height

Know which mountaintops to visit for “over the cloud” shots of photospots.

Thunderstorm cells

Numerical calculation of storm position relative to photospots.

Clear night sky

See which nightscape photospots will have a clear night the next days.

water reflection

Find perfect water reflections for your landscape photos.

Visible sunriseset

Cloudfree sunrises are more beuatiful than grey skies in the morning! We forecast them.

Structured sky

We forecast the perfect amount of cloud cover for long exposure photography.

Photo contrast App

You don’t need grey skies. We forecast when the sun is shining at your photospot.

Blue hour

Forecasting when the blue hour has no clouds in the sky with perfect light conditions.

Screening smoke

A fine layer of fog in the grassland is pretty nice to shoot. We forecast the propability.

M.Sc. Stefan Engel

Founder, developer

M.Sc. Stefan Engel
B.Sc. Bastian Werner

Founder, CEO

B.Sc. Bastian Werner
Dipl. Met. J. Lang

Founder, meteorologist

Dipl. Met. J. Lang
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