If you happen to be up in wee hours of the morning when conditions are just right, your bound to see some …..foggy goodness. Though it can be hard to predict at times, some mornings I’d swear conditions were perfect, yet nothing. And other times I’d see the valley choca bloc full of the stuff, grrrrrr. Generally speaking there needs to be humid conditions, near 100% in order for the fog to settle in valley. Commonly known as radiation fog it is formed by the cooling of land after sunset by thermal (infrared) radiation in calm conditions with a clear sky. The cool ground produces condensation in the nearby air by heat conduction. Radiation fogs occur generally at night, and usually does not last long after sunrise, though with the right conditions it can last passed midday in the valleys. Radiation fog is common in autumn, and early winter. And the effect, well that’s just stunning to behold….
I often find myself thinking that the fog takes on the appearance of how the valley would have looked when water filled them. Some mornings you would swear there was an ocean below you, an ocean of white fog that you could walk on……So if you do find yourself up early in the morning with a bit of time to kill, go take a look as it might be one of the better sights you’ll see in a long time….
One of the great natural phenomenons that occurs in the upper Blue Mountains is the little known “phantom falls”. Without boring you too much with the science behind it…., it basically requires warm humid that is heated by the sun rays in the Jamison Valley colliding with much cooler air from the neighboring Megalong valley (or via versa), resulting in the spectacular “waterfall” like effect in the valley. I have watched the fog numerous times just effortlessly gliding over the Narrowneck plateau, shrouding the scene in a wedding like veil.
I took off on a large walk the other day, not really anticipating capturing the phantom falls in action. I had actually gone off in search of a waterfall I’d seen many years ago and was keen to take a peek. As it was humid I decided to get closer to see if there was any fog in the valley and I was pleased to see the apparition like scene in the valley, the phantom had most definitely appeared. One of the things as a photographer I try and do is to get some different and unique compositions of an emerging scene. So I spent the next 1.5 hours scooting up and down the cliffs looking for different angles to capture this wonderful phenomenon. Though I’ve seen the fog covering more of the escarpment in the past, I was happy to get some nice light in the valley on this occasion as well. I’ll continue to look for this great natural occurrence in the future and I hope to get many more great shots of it. So if you’re in the area and conditions feel right, head over to the nearest lookout and you just may see the…………………..Phantom of the Blue Mountains.