Tutorial: Autumn Skies Photography

Light and layout

Sunrise and sunset

Cloud formations often appear particularly dramatic at sunrise and sunset. The warm glow of the sun can diffuse through clouds giving shades of orange and pink that will add colour to your images. Exposing just for the sky can work well, with the ground dark and often in silhouette.

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Sunset, © Rolf Pahnhenrich 2011, Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Rule of thirds
Just like other photos, the rule of thirds applies for photographing skies. Whilst typical landscape photos will have their skyline one third from the top, you should consider it being 1/3 from the bottom when photographing clouds and sky. This is demonstrated well in the image above.

The two vertical lines of the grid are also still important; they can be used for a relevant object in the foreground. 

Post production
Once you have taken your photograph, you can process it using software on your computer. JPEG files can be adjusted to alter white balance, brightness, contrast and saturation. The G and S series PowerShot cameras as well as the more recent PowerShot SX50 HS can take photos in RAW format. Using the Digital Photo Professional software supplied with them, cropping and sharpening can be undertaken. The image can also be converted to black & white.

Photograph the skies then show us the results
Now you have seen some inspirational photos where clouds are a major element, the next step is to try it out for yourself. Enter your favourites and they could feature in the Gallery next month.

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