Travel Landscape - Skies

According to the time of the year, the ever changing light, weather conditions, cloud formations and seasonal changes provide an endless range of photographic opportunities when photograph sky. Although sunsets are a favourite subject for many photographers, not all sky shots need be taken at dusk, and in fact many of the most effective shots are captured at different times of the day.

The essential point to remember when photographing skies is to judge the exposure so that the important details, such as clouds, are recorded. A camera polarizing filter will help to darken the sky while retaining the detail if the shot is of a blue sky with puffy white clouds. A neutral density graduated filter could be used to similar effect or, for real drama, combined with the polarizing filter. As well as the neural density graduated filter, a graduated color filter such as a tobacco graduated filter can be added. This will turn the sky a sepia color while retaining the natural color of the land.

When photographing an area you know well, try to be in position early to take advantage of the changing light patterns and the different effects this has on the sky.

When shooting at sunset be prepared to work rapidly as the sun sets very quickly. Also be on the lookout for the changing color of the sky. Once the sun has set the sky can deepen in color considerably. At sunset watch for light playing on clouds; an aura of light form these will look far more dramatic than a clear sky. As exposures will be quite long at this time of day a tripod is essential, and a cable release preferable.

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