Blue Sky = Boring HDR?? Does it??


No longer a newbie, moving up!
Dec 1, 2011
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Some Where In the Desert
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I would like to have a discussion on sky's and HDR.

As I have been taking HDR landscapes now for a few months I have learned that its better to take pictures of landscapes when you have clouds in the sky. Plain blue sky's makes more of a boring peace to look at and also amplifies halos. The other thing that crossed my mind was shooting into the sun also makes for a more interesting photo. It does not have to be directly but nice to be in there somewhere when it calls for it (sun sets and sun rise ). I take my camera with me everywhere I go for the most part and sometimes I just snap pictures and try to make the PP make the picture better rather than taking the time to find a better subject, angle or time of day. I know I have been told this many times and sometimes it takes time to set in...... However I think there has been a lot of gain to taking and processing so many HDR's because I have found many great ways to process the images and I think that will carry on moving forward...but this is not about me its about pictures of the sky. When I look at the HDR's of landscapes online that I like there is always clouds and often times the sun. I took some shots today of an alleyway trying to capture the sun into the photo and surprisingly enough I really liked the results because it gave the image life. There was just a few clouds in the sky but not nearly enough to bring out the sky qualities that I am looking for. This discussion is not for night HDR as that is a whole other topic and discussion. This discussion is more about what you folks think about Day, Morning and Sunset Sky's

Here is the picture I took today. I do wish there were more clouds but what is striking to me is the way that the sun made everything glow. The path down the alley takes you right to the sun. Had this been at Noon today the shot would be a complete dud/boring but I really think the sun is what makes this an OK picture. it makes it more interesting. Now if I was to apply this to a really much more attractive area I only could imagine the results. Thus the questions below.

alleyway by VIPGraphX, on Flickr

Question for you.
1) You want to go shooting some landscapes, you have a spot in mind and you have your gear ready to go. You look outside and see clear sky's, do you wait until another day when sky's have clouds or do you go anyway?

2) You have a spot in mind you know that forecast calls for cloudy sky's. Do you try to make it at sunrise or sunset, or do you go anytime of day? ( I think this will depend on your subject and if a sunset with the sun will help achieve a better picture)
I'm not a big landscape person, my 1st "love" is florals, but I do take landscapes, mostly sunsets whem I venture out, or at least during the golden hour or so. I do check the weather forcast, not from lets say Accuweather, or the weather channel, but from the local airport. great for wind and cloud ceilings, and very accurate.

Clouds are very important to me for the exact reasons you mentioned, they add interest, shape, and all sorts of colors to sunsets. Also really helps with the rays of the setting sun. A cloudless sky in a sunset, shot with a wide angle lens, is halfway to failure before you've even composed the picture.

If the forecast is for no clouds, a solid cloud cover, rain, snow, heavy winds, or bitter cold, I just stay home. With my work schedule, and home life, I don't have a lot of free time to take pictures, so I plan out my outings several days in advance. Where, when, what, and how, are all part of that process. I don't carry my camera(s) with me unless I'm out taking pictures. I don't just for the fun of it change plans unless there is a dramatic change in the weather if it's an outdoor shoot. And I don't carry any more equipment then I actually plan on using. These old and tired bones need all the help they can get.

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