Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Greyscale sky

Greyscale sky

This was a very experimental picture for me. Not obviously good lighting conditions. One of those overcast days where the sky is one smooth grey surface. I positioned the sun behind one trunk of the tree, and took essentially this same picture 5 times with different shutter speeds and aperatures. This is the only one that captured that gradient in the sky.

7 comments:

james said...

Hey, Josh, I'm following your new photo experiments with great interest. I hope you have a lot of fun with it.

Just wanted to respond to your comment that the flat grey sky was not ideal for picture taking. As your cool photo here attests - au contraire! A clear blue sky almost always means very high contrast, harsh shadows, which can make it hard (or impossible) to set an exposure for everything in your frame. If you want to take a portrait outside, for example, you'll find the soft, even light of an overcast day may be ideal. Same goes for a close-up still-life, say of the flowers in your garden. In direct sun you're sure to have to choose between losing detail in the highlights or the shadows, even in a wide landscape.

Woody Allen is known for "only" shooting outside on grey days. For a lot of movie close-ups, whoever the director, they'll put a giant semi-transparent screen in front of the sun to make things a little more manageable.

Josh Gentry said...

Hey, James, thanks for the feedback. I've read some similar things, and I don't challenge what you say. The reason I say I'm unsure about that kind of lighting conditions is that I find value contrast interesting. I have certainly experienced the problem of direct, bright sun, however.

Josh Gentry said...

As a matter of fact, I mostly just don't try to take pictures outside anywhere near mid-day, because of the bright, direct light problem. I try to catch morning or late afternoon light. On the overcast days, without the contrast of light and shadow, I just don't see the pictures. Lot of opportunity to grow, there.

Matt Dick said...

Most people who shoot nature advise only going out early morning or later in the day. There is so much more of interest, lighting-wise, during those days.


This was an early morning shot. With my back to the sun it not only allowed me a more interesting, shadow-free shot of the face of the building, it let me play with the reflection of the sun, and *also* afforded a warmer, yellower glow from the facade.

Josh Gentry said...

Matt, the building is nice. Great color, and I love the one window that's brightly reflecting the sun.

The dark shapes in the foreground make a nice contrast, but I'm distracted by the fact they don don't look real.

Matt Dick said...

Interesting comment. It had never occurred to me that they looked fake. I could try to overexpose those trees to bring them out more...

Josh Gentry said...

If they don't look fake to you, maybe its just me. I'd be interested to you overexpose them.

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