5 Phenomenal Time-Lapse Videos of Fog

Photo: Mike Behnken/Flickr.

We look through fog all the time, but we rarely bother to look at it. That's partly because it doesn't look like much from the inside, limiting the best views to high-elevation overlooks. Even then, its lazy pace belies its majesty, challenging human attention spans.

But thanks to the modern magic of time-lapse photography, languid phenomena like fog — technically just a low-hanging type of stratus cloud — now lurch to life in high-definition videos. An ordinary haze over San Francisco becomes an undulating sea, spilling into canyons and lapping at bridges, while mist whips around Hawaiian volcanoes and the Spanish countryside sparkles under a slithering veneer of water vapor.

To shed light on this hidden beauty, we've compiled some of the best time-lapse fog footage we could find. Here are five short videos that deftly convey fog's ethereal grace:

1. "The Unseen Sea"

Few cities know fog like San Francisco. And few people know how to capture it like Simon Christen, who became a Vimeo star in 2010 after releasing "The Unseen Sea." It's been watched 2.1 million times since, setting the stage for this year's followup, "Adrift."

2. "Fogcouver"

This gauzy tour of Vancouver is relatively new, having been uploaded to Vimeo in late October, but it has already racked up nearly 55,000 views. It's easy to see why.

3. "Adrift"

Christen spent two years working on this sequel to "The Unseen Sea," making frequent predawn drives to the Marin Headlands overlooking San Francisco. "Luckily, once in a while the conditions would be perfect and I was able to capture something really special," he writes on Vimeo. "'Adrift' is a collection of my favorite shots from these excursions."

4. "Landscapes of La Rioja"

The climate of La Rioja, Spain, has supported a world-renowned wine industry for centuries, but as this video proves, it makes for some pretty impressive fog, too.

5. "House of the Sun"

Haleakala means "house of the sun" in Hawaiian, and the volcano's 10,000-foot-high summit is legendary for its views of sunrises and sunsets. It's also regularly engulfed by clouds — essentially fog from this perspective — that pick up the colors of refracted sunlight, as photographer Dan Douglas illustrates in this dramatic time-lapse video.