More dramatic shots?


TPF Noob!
Apr 2, 2009
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How do i get a more dramatic sky/clouds shot? Every time i go taking landscape pictures i find it hard to get a nice looking dramatic sky, they always seem boring and uninteresting. Do people often take one exposure for the sky and another for the landscape and post process them? Are there better settings for a more defined sky?
That would be one way. Another is a circular polarizer. On days when the sky is blue, the polarizer can dramatically darken it, almost to the point of black in certain conditions, but you can control how much. And that will make any puffy white clouds really pop out of the dark areas.

A graduated nuetral density filter will help a lot of times, also. It darkens part of the photo without affecting the other part.

You'll need to study up and experiment with either type of filter to get the best results.
Look into CPL (circular polarizer) filters or GND (graduated neutral density) filters.
Can i use, or do people use a ND filter and polarizer for some shots?
GND, not ND: the "G" means Graduated: half of the filter is darkened (to absorb light from the bright sky) and the other half is clear (to let in light from the darker ground). That's a very useful tool for landscape photographers.

I definitely use both together, but be careful of two things. First, polarizers don't play well with wide angle lenses (as often are used for landscapes) -- the sky will be unevenly polarized and result in weird changes in brightness from side to side. Second, stacking filters can cause vignetting due to the thickness of the filters. That's usually easy to crop or clone out (or just leave it for an artsy effect), but you should be aware of the possibility.

Finally... dramatic clouds are one of those things you do have to wait around for. :) Being in the right place at the right time is a bit of a trick!
I guess you could, but you have to remember that both types of filters reduce the amount of light getting to your sensor so you should have the camera on a tripod and be prepared to do a fairly long exposure.

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