Blue Skies, Who Needs’em

1 Apr
 

OK, OK, sometimes blue skies are really stunning against, say, a white Greek building with a terra-cotta roof, and I’m not going to sit inside just because there are blue skies. But Arnie and I think cloudy and stormy skies are so much more exciting. Rain and fog can be amazing, too.

My mother was a very accomplished artist. She used a lot of Paynes Gray for her own moody skies, as there is a lot of violet in that color. If you think of the color wheel, that is why spring greens, that contain a lot of yellow, pop against those stormy skies. Those color combinations make images sing.

© 2010 Margo Taussig Pinkerton.  All Rights Reserved.  From Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures.  For usage and fees, please e-mail BC (at) ZAPphoto (at) com or contact us at 310 Lafayette Drive, Hillsborough, NC  27278 or at 919-643-3036 before 9 p.m. east-coast time.A couple of years ago, during our workshop in Virginia, we had terrible weather — torrential rains and gray skies — and we made amazing photographs. The colors were saturated, and the skies were spectacular.

Two of our group had planned on staying another day to photograph with their new-found skills. We got an e-mail from them that said, “We got up the next morning after you all left. It was sunny without a cloud in the sky. We packed up and left!”

Arnie and I got quite a laugh out of that, but a pleased one, as these two had learned that blue skies are boring, at least most of the time. We were delighted that they had made the transition to looking for light and drama for their photographs. A few minutes after I made this photograph last spring, we all looked like drowned rats … but happy ones!

© 2011 Arnold Zann.  All Rights Reserved.  From Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures.  For usage and fees, please e-mail BC (at) ZAPphoto (at) com or contact us at 310 Lafayette Drive, Hillsborough, NC  27278 or at 919-643-3036 before 9 p.m. east-coast time.In Belize this year, we also saw our share of dramatic skies. Antonio, our favorite guide, took us to his small village in the mountains.

We got to meet some of his family, see the children hard at their studies through open windows and doors in the school building, and make some great photographs.

Here, Arnie used the sky to set off a building on which some artist or artists had painted a tree of life embracing the windows. On a bright sunny day, this would have been nice, but it certainly would not have been nearly as interesting as this image.

© 2010 Arnold Zann.  All Rights Reserved.  From Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures.  For usage and fees, please e-mail BC (at) ZAPphoto (at) com or contact us at 310 Lafayette Drive, Hillsborough, NC  27278 or at 919-643-3036 before 9 p.m. east-coast time.Last fall, we were photographing outside Moab and were caught in a can-barely-see-your-hand-in-front-of-your-face, driving rainstorm. Huge zots of lightning and earth-shaking claps of thunder drove us into the safety of our cars.

This double rainbow appeared, and while the rain was still beating against us and our cameras, we jumped out to make some amazing photographs, as Arnie did here.

© 2010 Margo Taussig Pinkerton.  All Rights Reserved.  From Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures.  For usage and fees, please e-mail BC (at) ZAPphoto (at) com or contact us at 310 Lafayette Drive, Hillsborough, NC  27278 or at 919-643-3036 before 9 p.m. east-coast time.Yes, here’s an inky-black version of Paynes Gray. Arnie and I were doing final scouting before our alumni workshop in Yosemite in December when we were treated to some spectacular skies.

It was one of those situations in which every way one looked, there was something happening. Blazing red skies behind us. Rain and mists off to the side.

In this direction, a fast-approaching storm served as the perfect backdrop for the warm, late-afternoon light streaming in on Half Dome. There’s that color wheel at work again.

© 2011 Arnold Zann.  All Rights Reserved.  From Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures.  For usage and fees, please e-mail BC (at) ZAPphoto (at) com or contact us at 310 Lafayette Drive, Hillsborough, NC  27278 or at 919-643-3036 before 9 p.m. east-coast time.Another day in Belize, we had more than dramatic skies. We had a squall come through. Rain can add an almost-surreal effect to a scene, as everything is muted by the pattern of the out-of-focus raindrops.

There is a large presence of Mennonites (called Money-ites by the local Belizians) in different parts of Belize, but there are also a few Amish. We saw this Amish gentleman pull up in his wagon while we were visiting a friend from last year’s trip. The cart was full of produce for the local store. While the man unloaded his vegetables, the family who owned the store watched from the dry shelter of the building.

Arnie captured the scene beautifully, and if you look carefully, you’ll see the rain and the effect it has on the photograph.

Let’s not forget fog and what it can add to a scene. We were down along the river in Savannah in the early morning. I loved the way the fog added a serene, peaceful mood to the islands and water. Blue skies? I don’t think it would have been nearly as interesting.© 2010 Margo Taussig Pinkerton.  All Rights Reserved.  From Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures.  For usage and fees, please e-mail BC (at) ZAPphoto (at) com or contact us at 310 Lafayette Drive, Hillsborough, NC  27278 or at 919-643-3036 before 9 p.m. east-coast time.

Don’t be afraid of inclement weather. Use it to your advantage. Celebrate it in your photographs as Arnie and did in the examples above.

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6 Responses to “Blue Skies, Who Needs’em”

  1. Mark Garbutt 08-13-13 at 8:46 AM #

    Nice work! I was teaching a photo class two days ago; the weather forecast was for cumulus clouds, going to be a great day for shooting. There was only one small cloud all day – bummer. I love cloudy days!

     
    • TBC 08-13-13 at 11:23 AM #

      Mark,

      So glad you appreciated the blog, and we also love that you enjoyed the samples of non-cloudy days.

      Take care,

      TBC

       
  2. David Robertson 04-01-11 at 12:44 PM #

    Beautiful images! Every one a winner! I couldn’t agree more about inclement weather being special. Saturation of colors and varied and every-changing lighting makes it a very special time.

     
    • TBC 04-01-11 at 7:25 PM #

      Thanks, Dave. We appreciate your comments, and we’re delighted you enjoyed the images.

      Yes, give me storm clouds any day, although sometimes it’s challenging when you’re shooting into driving rain! I think what I love about weather is that it is always moving and changing. Mark Twain said something to the effect that if you didn’t like the weather, just wait a minute. I always say, “Mother Nature has a mind of her own.” And some wag offered, “Yes, there will be weather.”

      Take care,

      TBC

       
  3. Marc 04-01-11 at 9:32 AM #

    I like these images. I live in Boise, Idaho and most of my images of sceneries have clouds. I usually wait to have clouds to shoot and it’s pretty easy in this area. Whenever I go up to the mountains, there are usually some clouds somewhere.

     
    • TBC 04-01-11 at 7:22 PM #

      Marc,

      Glad you like them. We love shooting in and around Boise where my elder daughter and her family live. There are, indeed, great clouds there, adding drama to some beautiful scenery.

      Take care,

      TBC

       

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