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Posts Tagged ‘clouds’

postheadericon The Variety of Clouds – Lighting Conditions

Clouds of different kinds, layers and thicknesses create a complex, endlessly changing arena of light.

 

Lighting conditions are more complicated and less easy to anticipate when clouds are broken, so that there is a mixture with blue sky. In fact the complexity extends to situations where there is more than one layer of broken cloud, each different in type. The intensity, quality, and color of light can vary. On a windy day, these conditions change rapidly, not only from cloud to direct sun, but from one type of weather to another.

 

If you are tying to take a particular shot that you have fixed in your mind, scattered cloud on a windy day can be frustrating, to say the least. The light changes up and down, delaying the shooting. However, the sheer variability of broken cloud can produce some of the most interesting, and even dramatic, lighting. To take advantage of it, however, you need to react quite quickly. Familiarity with the different light levels in any one situation will help; if you have already measured the difference between cloud and sunlight, you can change from the one setting to the other without having to use the meter again. Under heavy cloud with a few gaps, this may be particularly useful, as the sunlight is likely to move in patches across the landscape and be difficult to measure quickly.

 

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postheadericon Cloud Cover

Clouds are the most visible component of weather and in outdoor photography they are by far the most important controlling factors in daylight, creating an enormous variety of effects.

 

Clouds diffuse daylight, softening scenes and reducing shadows. To make a comparison with a studio, they act as variable diffusers and as reflectors at the same time. Depending on their thickness, texture, extent, height, how they are arranged in layers, and their movement at different speeds, the permutations of cloud conditions are infinite. The simplest situation is when the cloud cover is continuous. Overcast skies just diffuse the light, and if they are sufficiently dense that there is no path of brightness to show the position of the sun, the light is as soft and shadowless as it ever can be.

 

Medium-to-heavy overcast skies have a reputation for bringing dullness to a scene, and to an extent this is true. Light comes more or less evenly from the entire sky, so the only shadows are those caused by objects being close to each other; this lack of shadow reduces modeling, perspective, and texture. Objects appear to have less substantial form, and large-scale views appear flat. There is virtually no modulation of light, and the even illumination in all directions makes conditions less interesting, with none of the lighting surprises that occur when shooting in changing weather.

 

The value of shadowless, overcast lighting is in its efficiency rather than in its evocative qualities. It helps to clarify images. Much depends on what you see as the purpose of the shot. If the photograph has to remain faithful to the physical, plastic qualities of the subject, then this even lighting may be valuable. Clarity in the image takes precedence over more expressive qualities.

 

UPDATED! Green Screen Wizard Full Version 7.0 offers the latest in green and BLUE screen software power and control behind an amazingly simple and accessible user interface. This chroma key software provides professional photographers, as well as photography enthusiasts, a simple way to do green screen removal and substitutes their choice of digital background. Green Screen Wizard is a self-contained chroma key removal program that does not require Photoshop or other photo editing application to produce beautiful green screen photos. Learn more now and try a free demo version!

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