You don't have to wait for
good weather to photograph an intriguing sky. In its many moods, the sky can
be a wonderful, ever-changing photographic subject. You can take pictures of
puffy white clouds, dramatically colorful sunrises or sunsets, an ominous storm
front moving in, and possibly a rainbow after the storm clears. Shoot early
or late in the day for the best light, as the midday sun will wash out colors.
A lofty view from a jetliner. The low sun makes this an especially
Reader photo by Richard Pearce, Guilford, VT
Also, you don't need a lot
of expensive camera equipment to capture great photos of the sky; a simple point-and-shoot
camera will do nicely. It's best to scout out a location before you want
to take pictures. A beautiful sky alone can be a great subject, but you might
also want to look for an area with a center of interest, like a tree or mountains
for the foreground.
skies can provide much drama in your pictures.
Reader photo by Maximiliano D' Angelo, San Diego, CA
Although sunrise occurs before many
of us get up in the morning and sunsets take place during dinner time, it's
worth the extra effort to go out of your way to capture nature's light
shows. During these times, the sky can be very colorful, and is often streaked
with warm hues of reds and oranges. When photographing a dramatic sunrise or
sunset, try to include a simple, instantly recognizable foreground element in
silhouette. This will add interest to your image of the sky, and can reveal
something about your location. For example, palm trees silhouetted against a
sunset on a beach will make a tropical statement. A couple holding hands on
the beach spells romance.
interesting cloud formation is a great photo subject, and the
foreground scene provides a visual anchor.
Reader photo by Tina Wright, Raleigh, NC
You can include a setting (or rising)
sun in your pictures, but keep in mind that the sun never appears as large in
a photo as it does to our eyes. If your camera has a zoom lens, use a moderate
telephoto setting to make the sun larger in your pictures (likewise, use the
wide-angle setting to capture a broad expanse of sky). Before clicking the shutter,
aim your lens to a bright area of sky away from the sun. Your camera will get
a more accurate reading of the colors in the sky. You can recompose the picture
to include the sun if you want to. Whatever you do, don't stare directly
into the sun, with or without your camera--this can cause eye damage.
Although you have a very brief window of time at dawn or dusk, shoot lots of
pictures, as the clouds and colors in the sky can vary. If you're trying
to capture the outline of a landscape or a city skyline in the foreground, expose
for the sky since it will be the brightest area in your image.