The sky, which may be an important element in a landscape photograph, can also make a fascinating pictorial subject in its own right. Not only does the sky have an almost endless capacity for color change – from the deepest blues to vibrant gold and crimson – but the variety of cloud formations visible from one location in the course of a single day may be breathtakingly wide, especially when the weather is changeable.
SUN AND CLOUD EFFECTS
The most dramatic photographic opportunities are when the sun illuminates banks of clouds at an angle or when small, billowing clouds are partially obscuring the sun. Dawn and sunset are the times of day when the colors of the sky are at their most variable and dramatic, and usually most photogenic.
Sky at sunset
In order to photograph the sky at sunset, set up your camera on a tripod in advance and wait for the sun to dip below the horizon. Shooting the sun itself may create flare spots so it is better to wait until the sun is partly obscured by clouds.The exposure reading is taken for the brightest part of the sky so that the landscape appears black.
Stormy sky, above
In this picture, high banks of thunderous cumulus clouds are gathering over the hills flanking a city, signalling the onset of a rainstorm. Storm cloud formations can change from second to second.
Obscured sun, left
When the sun is obscured by clouds, those closest to the camera position appear dark and menacing, while dramatic shafts of light penetrate the gaps beyond and illuminate the peaks
of the clouds farther away.
Keep the horizon low in the frame to give the sky greater compositional weight
To accentuate the colours of the sky with the setting sun, take a light reading from the brightest part.
Do not set the camera on auto white balance, as this may neutralize the colours. Instead, use the manual setting for cloudy conditions, which will further boost the warm glow of the sunset.
Munish Khanna is a well experienced creative photographer based in Delhi, India
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