Monday, 19 March 2012

Cloudy Weather and Rain

Exercise Part 1 - 4-6 images

The first part of this exercise is to compare images taken of the same scene in both sunlight and cloud. The white balance in camera should be sunlight/daylight in all the images and any differences in camera setting noted.

There can be a marked difference in the strength of colour and light between a sunlit and cloudy day. On a cloudy day the clouds act as a diffuser and even out the light. This soft even lighting results in reduced contrast in the image which will usually allow more detail to be visible in the shadows.

Image 1 - cloudy/Image 2 - Sunlit
 As you can see from the images above Image 1 - taken with cloud cover - has less contrast than the image taken in direct sunlight. The light is even and some would say flat. The cloudy image is cooler and I feel less saturated. Both images were taken on Aperture Priority at f/9, ISO250. To compensate for the lower light levels and as I had selected a fixed aperture, the shutter speed in the cloudy image was longer at 1/320sec compared to 1/250sec in the sunlit image.

In this second set of images the most obvious effect of the change in conditions is the effect on the tone and colour saturation.
Image 1 - cloudy/Image 2 - Sunlit
Image 1 - taken in cloudy weather - is cooler and has deeper shadow areas with very little detail visible. This may be partly due to the angle of view. In terms of camera setting however they are identical which I hadn't expected. Both taken on Aperture Priority f/5.6, ISO100, shutter speed 1/45sec. My only explanation for this is the latitude that the wider aperture has allowed in  terms of capturing the available light.

Exercise Part 2 - 3 images
The second element of this exercise involves taking a few images on an overcast day. In this first example my aim was to capture the vibrant colour of the flowers and avoid any distracting highlights in the background or shadows beneath the flowers. The overcast conditions also have the benefit of showing the deep saturation of colour in the flowers.
f/3.3, ISO 250, Shutter speed 1/250sec

In this second image the overcast lighting has accentuated the texture of the sandstone. There is just enough directional light to show some shadow and accentuate textures but the diffused light means that the shadows are also softer and less pronounced. The shadows in this image are there to serve a purpose and are not intended to be a noticeable element in the image.

I like to take images with strong graphical elements when the weather is overcast or cloudy as these make stronger images when converted to black and white. In this particular image I wanted to show the solitude at the beach on a very cold day.

Exercise Part 3
The final part of this exercise involves taking images in the rain, not something I do very often but when I do it's with the aim of catching kids in wellies or bright umbrellas to brighten up an image. Other times the sunshine after a rain shower can create some opportunities.
Aperture Priority - ISO 200, f/5.6 at 1/750sec
I tend to work in aperture priority and in cloudy weather or rain the exposure times are generally longer. In some cases I might use a tripod but generally to keep the exposure times manageable for hand held images I increase the ISO or adjust the aperture in camera. Luckily the camera I use, a Nikon D7000, has one of the best high ISO performances so this is not too much of a compromise.

I've made a note to myself to photograph more wet weather this year. One thing I can be sure of is that there will certainly be plenty of suitable days.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank You Rich. I see you're moving through the course at a steady pace. Looking forward to seeing your first assignment.