In landscape photography, the landscape isn’t the only element that determines the success of an image. For instance, you might be out to photograph a mountain, but how the sky appears still has a massive impact on the final look of the image. The sky works as a background for most landscape images and creates mood for your photos. If the sky looks bland, you’ll have a tough time getting a good photo. As you’ll see in the video, landscape photographer Gavin Hardcastle faces this same challenge. It’s no less than a nightmare for him:
An empty blue sky in the daytime may appear good for postcard images, but when it comes to artistic images, it’s a big NO. Clear skies look very boring and while also not doing any justice to the majestic landscapes in the foreground.
Cloudy skies on the other hand are a completely different story. One main advantage of having a cloudy sky is that the clouds act as a giant softbox. With this, the light hitting the landscapes gets softened and thus prevents the formation of harsh shadows and bright highlights. Another big advantage of having clouds is how they can add drama and give a certain mood to the entire image.
As you can see in the video, an empty blue sky can make your life really difficult. The scene appears very harshly lit, the light is no good, and the images come out very “amateurish”. The gradation of different colors can be one thing to look out for during the golden hour, but that doesn’t mean that it comes out any better than a cloudy sky.
How important do you feel clouds are for your landscape photography?
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