When I go out to take landscape photos, if I could have my wish every time, the one thing I would wish for is a partially cloudy day. The contrast in the sky just seems to make the perfect image. I think that a certain cloudy sky has certainly made some very famous photos as well. So, let’s figure out just what to do when you are presented with the perfect cloudy day.
The use of filters can help the photographer emphasize these differences. A UV filter is a great tool for cutting through haze and improving clarity. A polarizing filter is perhaps even better to isolate the different areas of the clouds and highlight their features. When doing black and white photography, a red filter is a plus to use to make the clouds really stand out and appear bolder.
A good time to photograph cumulus clouds is both before and after a storm. In California where I live, high clouds normally precede an approaching storm front, followed by more and more cumulus clouds as the cloud cover drops lower and the clouds thicken. At any time during this process, great opportunities for photographs exist. Here in California and other desert areas during the summer monsoonal rain season, thunderheads often begin to build up over the mountain areas. These gigantic cloud formations stretching thousands of feet into the air are particularly beautiful to photograph as the sunlight plays upon their different features.
Always use a sturdy tripod so that there is no camera movement. The evening is a great time to photograph thunderheads, as the light at this time gives them a beautiful reddish glow. Also, scattered clouds at just the right particular height take on some beautiful, warm red-to-fuchsia colors.
I love to photograph clouds that are categorized as linear ventricular. These clouds are long horizontally and have the shape of a flying saucer. They, too, are often found during the monsoonal season hanging over mountainous regions.
Many times, a plain or even boring subject can be greatly offset and made to look interesting and exciting when there are beautiful cloud formations in the scene. A beautiful, clear day may be a great time to photograph, but if you have time, wait for some clouds!
Here is some more great photos with CLOUDS: