Seeing skies

Steve Walton on how to create individual style in your landscape photography.

How you interpret the sky has a significant impact on your final image and on how your photography evolves into a recognisable style. Uniform white skies encourage minimalism, with the emphasis on isolating the main graphical elements within a scene.

This is particularly effective in monochrome photography.

Dramatic clouds and stormy skies encourage and enhance sweeping landscape vistas. Our weather patterns offer scope for experimenting with and adapting to changing conditions. Don’t place self-imposed restrictions on your creativity. When conditions are not right, adopt a different approach. Experiment, learn and enjoy your photography more. Nowhere is this more relevant than the west coast of Ireland where Steve will be running holidays for Authentic Adventures.


Top tips

Identify suitable locations for specific weather and light conditions well in advance.

Extreme wideangle lenses score highly with strong cloud formations.

Be patient, the weather will often improve. Use a remote release and lock the mirror up.

A good handheld light meter will enable spot, incident and reflected light metering.

Experiment with long exposures. Film is a wonderful medium for this.

Use the in-camera level menu or a hotshoe mounted bubble level to maintain level horizons.

A suitable tripod is essential. Ball-and-socket heads are the most versatile.

Set your camera to manual and use your aperture and/or shutter speed settings to bracket exposures around your meter readings.

Use graduated neutral filters to control very bright areas and ND filters to control aperture or shutter speed settings.

Assess your risks.

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