Clouds are Enablers of Film and Sensor

Lake Mina Access and Clouds

Clouds provide  structure, shape and beauty. As with a snowflake, no two are alike and thus each has a uniqueness that is all their own. And in addition to their individuality, they affect the lighting, highlights, shadows and tone of a photograph. As in the photo above, they can shadow one area while reflecting light and warmth to another. Direct light can completely bleach out an area and leave a shadowed object next to it completely black. Clouds, however, are enablers for both film and sensor. If you wait just a few seconds, the clouds will move and that bleached out area will be toned down a little or completely brought to detail. All because a cloud or part of the feathery substance passed between it and the sun.  At the same time, that area which just seconds before was a dark shadow now comes to life with reflected light.  It’s just really cool. And the effects change lightening fast!

Lobster Lake Clouds

Here you have contrasting points of view taken within minutes of each other on two different lakes less than a quarter-mile apart. The first photo was taken facing southward at about an 80 degree angle from the sun. As you can probably tell, the second shot is taken with the lens pointing almost directly into the location of the sun. Contrast is greater in the head on shot resulting in dynamic structural lines that are much more detailed.  In both cases, the warm reflections contrasting with the cool and dark cloud elements is evident. Still we have the obvious difference of peace and serenity in the Lake Mina photo and a higher level of drama on Lobster Lake. Which one do I like best? Well, it depends on my mood.  How about you?  Hope you enjoyed and have a good night.

About Jim Rook

Wildlife, Landscape & Nature Photography, Alexandria, MN
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