Float away with the clouds…
Have you ever taken a moment just to look up and stare at the clouds as they slowly glide over the sky? If you look at them for long enough you’ll begin to make out familiar shapes, patterns and formations. Clouds draw the eyes of everyone who gazes upon them, be they young or old, a professional photographer or an amateur. What remains the same is the beauty these mysterious masses of vapour bring to a photographers camera.
Here are my tips for capturing the majesty of the clouds:
Shoot At Different Times Of Day
No matter what time of day you choose to go out and focus on the clouds, you’re bound to find something beautiful. During the middle of the day, you have the opportunity to capture the sun peaking over the edges and through the crevasses between clouds. Let the rays of sunlight gleam down on the earth below and illuminate the surrounding landscape.
Sunrises and sunsets and brilliant times of day to photograph clouds, with warm reds, pinks, oranges and cool blues. You’ll be surprised at how quickly the colour of the horizon changes as the sun moves across the sky. Clouds take on these vibrant colours as their own and make the skyline look all the more magical. Remember to experiment with exposure as light levels will differ depending on what time of day you shoot.
Take Advantage Of The Weather
When we think of clouds, we all imagine the white, fluffy balls of cotton we’re all used to. Yet what you might not know is that there are different types of cloud that vary depending on the weather and climate. Photographing clouds is very rewarding if you’re able to travel around the world; seeing the types of clouds that can only be seen in certain regions.
We’re so used to the same kinds of clouds that we might even be guilty of paying them little or no notice at all. So what if they were more exciting? Rolling and tumbling across the skyline, creating formations that seem as though they’re out of this world. Domes, spirals, entire blankets of cloud can cover the sky if you’re in the right place at the right time. You could even brave the bad weather and venture out during storms to see just how violent the sky seems in comparison to a calm sunny day.
Always ethereal, they have the potential to make a landscape seem unfamiliar and strange; yet you only have to step out of your front door.
Use the Right Equipment
As you experiment with times of day and whether conditions, you may realise you need certain equipment to really bring your images together. One piece of equipment that’s handy in almost any situation is the tripod. In most cases you want to keep your shots as sharp as possible, capturing the intricate twists and turns of a cloud.
There are also polarising filters that can give your photos that extra ‘pop’ needed to bring them to life if that suits your taste. These filters simply reduce the reflections from various surfaces in your frame and darken the sky you’re photographing. You don’t even need to be an expert to use one of these filters. Just adjust the angle of the filter until you find a shot you like in your viewfinder. Thanks to digital photography, you can do this as often as you like until you become comfortable using it.
In this area of photography, it might be good idea to keep your head in the clouds so you can focus on capturing the perfect shot.
Remember that if the clouds are moving, then shooting with a longer exposure time (with the aid of a neutral density filter) will help capture that movement and add that extra dimension to your shots.
I can even critique and give you guidance on how to improve your photos in a photo critique masterclass in April. This gives you plenty of time to get out there and see what you can do.
Why not incorporate the clouds into landscape photography this spring? Join me on what will be a beautiful photography workshop in the Lake District so I can help your photography skills develop.
If you think you’ve got what it takes to take stunning photos of clouds, you should enter a contest I’m judging! I’m the expert judge of the Clouds category in the PhotoCrowd Photography Competition with plenty of wonderful prizes to won.
Good luck and I can’t wait to see what photos you create.