Photographic Super Course: The Art of Seeing Page 6

The setting sun combined with clouds near the horizon line always present the makings of a pretty picture. This one was made from a light airplane. My Canon EOS-3's multi-segment meter provided the right exposure here, but it doesn't hurt to bracket such scenes.

Cloud shots needn't all be horizontal format. Here, the vertical format included the most interesting clouds and their reflections. This sunrise was shot with a 35mm SLR and wide-angle lens.

This one was shot from a hilltop with the Optio 430 digicam, and cropped to eliminate the bottom half of the image, which was all black.

This late-afternoon cloud shot was made from an airplane with the Optio 430 digicam, which doesn't quite stack up to a pro SLR's capabilities, but still produced a nice shot. Here, the horizon was placed a little higher in the frame, because the ground contained interesting stuff, too.

These shots were made on early-morning hikes with the Optio 430 digicam. I aimed the camera at the clouds to lock in an exposure, then re-framed as shown. Note that the silhouetted horizon isn't an even line—it's more interesting this way.

Photographing clouds from their level gives a different perspective. This scene was halfway up a mountain trail during a clearing storm in early morning. My little hiking digicam handled it surprisingly well.

If you shoot after sunrise, when the sun is high enough to illuminate objects on the ground, you can get cloud shots with nonsilhouetted subjects.

Here, the sun had risen and hidden behind the cloud deck. The city skyline at the bottom adds interest.

Another good cloud theme is the sky reflected in an office building.
The Sky Is an Opportunity, Not a Limit
The sky presents many terrific photo opportunities throughout the year. All you need are some picturesque clouds, and a camera position with a clear view of them.

Clearing storms present awesome scenes, but even fair-weather clouds can be quite appealing. As with any outdoor photography, lighting is best first thing in the morning or in late afternoon, but keep watching the sky for photo opps.