Shoot in cloudy days.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by klnyc, Jul 31, 2007.

  1. klnyc

    klnyc

    136
    Jun 24, 2007
    Brooklyn, NY
    Hiya guys,

    Newbie here...I had been messing around with my D40 for few weeks. As newbie q's...How do you shoot in over cast day or cloudy day? Do you open up the f/stop or crank up the shutter speed?

    thanks
    ken
     
  2. eng45ine

    eng45ine

    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Tough question to answer Ken because you don't indicate what type of photography you are shooting. Depending on your subject matter, depth of field may be crucial, so apertures are adjusted according to the DOF desired. If shooting at a tighter aperture, bumping up the ISO may be necessary to maintain an appropriate shutter speed. Adjusting the EV compensation may also be necessary after consulting with the histogram and highlights. Using EV compensation will allow you to expose to the right on your histogram. If shooting people on a cloudy day, using a flash may be necessary to brighten faces and allowing for some "pop" in the image.

    Let us know what you are trying to shoot so we can help better.
     
  3. klnyc

    klnyc

    136
    Jun 24, 2007
    Brooklyn, NY
    Ooops sorry about that....For, I want to try(at least) is to shoot some landscape.
    Tall trees, bridges, barns, highrise..
    FYI, I have the following lens:

    simga 10-20
    nikon 50 f/1.8
    nikon 15-55
    nikon 55-200

    thanks
    ken
     
  4. haze2

    haze2

    780
    Mar 18, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Ken, I shoot a lot of landscape images and I like to keep the ISO low and the aperture around f/11. When it's cloudy I accomplish this by using a tripod and slightly longer exposures. Landscapes, bridges, and architecture are perfect subjects for this technique.
     
  5. There can be different types of cloudy. Storm clouds, or clouds that are just dark, can have both wonderful textures and can be very moody. In those instances, you landscape shots can get a real boost from those interesting clouds. You want to get graduated neutral density filters to even out the light between the sky and foreground. This will help bring out the clouds.

    However, when you have an even overcast, your shots will likely come out with completely washed out skies. In those instances, you want to compose your shots so as to not include any sky. This can be a good time for those architectural shots. Also, if your landscapes include waterfalls, overcast skies are perfect.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 1, 2007
  6. klnyc

    klnyc

    136
    Jun 24, 2007
    Brooklyn, NY
    Is there any way to prevent wash out shoots? Lower the f stop?
     
  7. adaml

    adaml

    976
    Feb 21, 2006
    chicago
    Shooting subjects with overcast skies as background is difficult at best.

    To answer your question, changing the aperture will only lighten or darken the overall image. If you expose for your subject, you'll blow out the sky. If you expose for the sky, your subject will be too dark.

    The best approach is to keep the overcast out of your image,if at all possible. If that's not possible, you have three choices:

    (1) keep the overcast sky in the image to a minimum
    (2) use an graduated neutral density filter to darken the sky, while maintaining the correct exposure for your subject (this may be impossible if your subject merges with the sky)
    (3) try detail shots instead of those that incorporate the overcast; one good thing about overcast is that it diffuse the light, so that detail subjects have good even lighting.

    Good Luck!
     
  8. klnyc

    klnyc

    136
    Jun 24, 2007
    Brooklyn, NY
  9. adaml

    adaml

    976
    Feb 21, 2006
    chicago
    If your eyes saw clouds in the background, but the image didn't capture them, then I would say that the image is overexposed- for the clouds. But if you now expose for the clouds, you will likely underexpose the buildings. It's a Catch-22 situation when you photograph landscapes, cityscapes in overcast weather. Also, because of the uneven break between the buildings and the background sky, I don't think that a graduated ND filter would help.

    BTW, your horizon line looks a little crooked.
     
  10. Here's the histogram for the image in question (from Nikon Capture NX):

    [​IMG]

    That large spike that goes off-scale at the far right represents the sky (lots of pixels with high luminosity). And you still have some room on the left to capture some shadow detail, so yes, reducing the exposure by at least 0.7 eV might give you some cloud definition. But high dynamic range scenes like this are a bit much for a digital camera.
     
  11. ffb2t

    ffb2t

    420
    Jan 16, 2006
    CA
    Since the ND won't work well in this situation (because of no clear horizon), take 2 exposures and combine them in post. One exposed for the sky, the other for the buildings.
     
  12. klnyc

    klnyc

    136
    Jun 24, 2007
    Brooklyn, NY
    Wow, thanks for the historgram shot. I need more pratice for sure.
    Thanks guys.
     
  13. I think it's a good idea to check your histogram frequently while taking photos. The Nikon metering is good, but does make mistakes. And my experience with the D40 is that it tends to overexpose, especially on scenics in bright light.
     
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