Fighting meh/dealing with grey skies/shooting in the UK

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Overread, Nov 28, 2008.

  1. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Well the title says it all - I have tried battling with grey skies and nearly every time I come away with drab and empty looking photos. Being that I live in the UK this sort of weather is far from uncommon and so rather than just not shoot on such days I would far rather learn to deal with such lighting.
    Add to that the fact that on such days the diffused light means that highlights are not a worry - something that on bright sunny days is a constant battle against.

    I know that lighting is everything and that one cannot get "perfection" without the "correct" light, but there must be tricks and ways of dealing with such lighting without changing your subject matter. I don't intend to move wildlife/zoo shooting indoors - my landlord would have fit ;).
     
  2. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Having visited the UK on a few occasions, I understand the weather thing. Hard to change.

    Having rented apartments (flats) in the past I understand the problems of dealing with landlords.

    That would leave only two things I can think of to try.

    One = Macrame. No weather issues or landlord issues.

    Two = http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/better_beamer.shtml Useful in low light or sunlight.
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Overcast skies make for soft light, which is often great to shoot in. Also, the soft light dulls the highlights and brightens the shadows, so you can capture scenes that would have been too diverse in brighter lights. Just try to avoid getting the boring sky in the shots.

    Also, you can underexpose the ambient to create some mood and then add your own light.
     
  4. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Post processing. Selective contrast adjustment and warming the image can do wonders with dull flat tones. I'm battling this at the moment in Paris.

    One thing that skys do well when they are overcast is at dusk. If you're in a populated light polluted environment the clouds form a spectacular background for nighttime photos, especially at dusk if a bit of the blue light is leaking through from the sky.
     
  5. dEARlEADER

    dEARlEADER TPF Noob!

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    two pints of lager and a packet of crisps



    edit : in all seriousness, if your looking for a plug in that helps with skys try [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0"]this[/ame]
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2008
  6. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    you are an evil person - I should really get that link blocked ;)

    Thanks for the advice so far - the better beamer is something I have had my eye on though didn't think of it to help deal with this.
    I will try playing more in editing - my early attempts at this (back in easter) were decent, but look fakish to my eyes now. Will give it another go now that I know a little more
     
  7. notelliot

    notelliot TPF Noob!

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    I usually underexpose the sky 1-3 stops, and use off-camera/artificial light. Makes for a really dark and moody sky, which may or may not work to your advantage.
     
  8. Arch

    Arch Damn You! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I got a request to add a tip i gave recently to this thread which may be beneficial to people who are forced to shoot in overcast conditions (namely us brits).

    It is normal to produce an image with a 'cold' white balance when shooting in overcast light... there are a few things you can do to fix this. Shooting in RAW can obviously give you the benefit of altering overall white balance... but quite often, alot more has happened to the image subject (be it a parson, animal or object) than can be solved with a RAW wb adjustment.

    Here are a few threads where i deal with the worst offender... Cyan casts on white.

    http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=147369

    http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=135070


    The Hue/Saturation adjustment layer is a very useful tool in creating a warmer image... as an adjustment layer, you always have the option to mask out the effect from different areas if needed... i often use them in landscapes to make certain areas pop.
     
  9. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    if you shoot people, use strobe and like what notelliot said, underexpose the ambient, it's a slick look.

    Otherwise, try shooting at night and crank a high-pass sharpen on it, it will bring out any texture that you wouldn't normally see in the sky.
     
  10. Sarin

    Sarin TPF Noob!

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    Gotta love UK weather! I find taking photos easy, it's getting decent weather that i find hard. What annoys me the most is that the skies in the Uk are generally grey, like a sheet of grey paper, no obvious clouds, tones or contrast. It makes skies in this part of the world very hard to make interesting. You've just got to be lucky and take your opportunities.
     
  11. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    A few approaches to bad weather:

    1. In your camera menu set: Vivid, Clouds for WB, or warm up the temperature numbers.

    2. Use an enhancement or warming filter on the camera.

    3. Use a warming polarizer on camera

    4. Use a software "sunshine filter".

    5. Use a graduated blue filter on a white or light grey sky

    6. Replace the sky in postprocessing.

    7. Selectively increase contrast to reduce the effect of fog or mist in the distance.

    skieur
     

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