Dont Shy Away From Bright Skies

Gerry van der Walt All Authors, Penny 2 Comments

I am sure by now that you all know, or at least have an idea, of the effects different types of light have on a scene and your subjects.

Golden light produced by the rising and setting sun is sought after by many wildlife and nature photographers, as this light produces a beautiful tone and richness in colour to the image.

As the sun climbs its way to midday, that is when cameras are usually put back into the camera bags to taken out again in the late afternoon. Why? Daytime light is harsh and produces strong areas of contrast between bright highlights and dark shadows, less framing and depth to the image, whereby the image can look flat, and more. But contradictory to what I have just mentioned, there is absolutely nothing wrong or bad about shooting under bright light at all. It is how you use the light to your advantage, how you use it to convey a story, how you use it to create.

One morning in the Mara Triangle during the 2014 Big Cats and Tuskers Photo Safari, the light was not ‘ideal’. It was overcast, but not in the great dark grey-blue skies that add a particular moodiness to the image…no. It was the bright overcast sky that has no particular colour to it, and in fact, just looks completely washed out. This is a tough sky to work with as subjects that are darker than the sky come out very dark, and it just is not a very interesting backdrop to any subject.

So when we approached a Long Crested Eagle on a dead tree, most of the guests in the car with me just didn’t know what to do with what was presented. The sky was so bright and the Eagle had no detail when they took their photos. After a quick discussion on Exposure Compensation and its capabilities, we started working the scene presented to us.

And I loved the results!

© Penny Robartes - Wildlife and Nature Photographer

Don’t shy away from skies that are labeled ‘not ideal’, or scenes that do not have the the perfect lighting situations.

Work the scene and have fun. Your camera is a powerful tool, so use it and capture your vision!

Have fun, stay passionate and keep shooting!

Penny Robartes

Comments 2

  1. Carol Bell

    Thanks Penny for the encouragement … what you have said has given me “food for thought” and I will look at things a bit differently now……and will remember this…

  2. Mike Blackburn

    This is a good reminder – you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.. Your images always make me think – you have a very different way of seeing things compared to the majority. My standard response to the lousy sky issue is generally to shoot for b/w to reduce the “obviousness” of the sky compared to the colour of the bird. Would you recommend this approach or is it on a case-by-case basis?
    Thanks again

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