Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Interesting Skies

Interesting Skies

Simple Clouds
Some times a sky adds as much to an image as the subject does. But a sky can also make an image boring.

Flat blue cloudless skies are about as boring as backdrops come.

But a sky with even the simplest clouds can make an image pop. Clouds can make or break a landscape image or a portrait where the sky is an element of the background.

Simpler Clouds
The sky doesn't have to overly complex with the cloud structure. In many cases something simple and light, like the sky in the image on the right is all it takes to take an image from bland to superb.

Complex Cloud Structure
 Here, in the image on the left, is a complex cloud structure at work. It would be easy for this complex structure to take over the image and over power your subject.

This is a great type of cloud structure if you are shooting a landscape, as the it can add a dynamic volume to the sky that can enhance the image.

But if your subject was a person, this type of cloud structure could take over as the subject making the person seem less important. While this can be true, it isn't always as composition choices play an important role in this decision as well.

Here a prime example of a complex cloud structure used to accentuate the landscape being photographed.

The cloud structure adds a cool, brooding tone to the image in contrast to the warmer toned landscape beneath it.

The key is balance of composition between the landscape and the brooding sky. If the horizon had been shifted down further, to make more of a minimalist type of image, the sky would have over powered the subject. But because the horizon is a little higher, falling more into the rule of thirds, the balance makes the image work by making the sky an element and not the subject.

Here is another image where the brooding sky enhances the image.

The aggressive nature of the sky compliments the subjects, soldiers heading into battle. The sky lends to mood.

Because the sky is in balance with the rest of the image, it is an element, allowing the viewer to still notice and realize the soldiers while adding that element of impending doom, generally at the subconscious level.

The image to the right is an example of an image where having some clouds in the sky would have made this portrait better.

The relative flat blue nature of the sky makes that section of the image boring.

Now the image on the right would have had a completely different impact if the sky had been like the image of the soldiers above. And again it would have been completely different if the sky has been like one of the fluffy cloud images posted at the beginning.

You can't always have the perfect sky for what you want, so you have to work with want you get. But if you have the option choose between days with clouds and days without, always choose a day with some puffs of white in the sky. Your images will turn out so much better.

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