Friday, September 30, 2016

Blue Skies, Smiling At Me....

But I Really Want Cloudy Skies

As the song goes, "Blue skies, smiling at me, nothing but blue skies do I see..."  But here's the thing, I'd rather have cloudy skies.  Not overcast mind you, just anything but totally clear blue or solid gray.

Cloudy skies add a sense of depth, dimension, and interest to a photograph.  I don't have a side-by-side comparison of the same picture with puffy clouds and then a plain blue sky, but if I did, I think you might agree the cloudy sky is more interesting.  Come on, Toy Story 1 can't be wrong!  And it's not just puffy white clouds.  Stormy gray clouds with the right light and contrast can look fantastic as well.  

Once I noticed this aspect of photography, I got to a point where if the weather is forecasted to be completely overcast for the entire day, I don't even bring my camera to the parks.  I found that I never liked any of the pictures I took with just an overall gray sky.  But with clouds, whether they are nice puffy white ones in the day or even stormy gray ones at sunset, clouds can add another very intersting dynamic to your pictures.

Of course, we all recognize Splash Mountain in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.  My settings for this pictures were aperture set to f/8.0 to capture both the foreground and the background, ISO 100 because it was a very sunny day out, 1/640 sec shutter speed, and a 23mm focal length.  Remember, my camera is a Sony A6000 with a 1.5X crop factor.  This shot was done handheld without a tripod.

As for the composition, I applied the rule of thirds to get Br'er Rabbit in the left third, leaving the right two thirds for the rest of the scene.  Ideally Br'er Rabbit would be looking to the right as if he were looking at the other two thirds of the scene, but hey, I didn't design Splash Mountain.  If I framed the shot where he was on the right third, the other two thirds of the picture would be him looking at a tree.

So start looking at the skies when you take a photograph and use the clouds to add some additional interest to the picture.