Three easy things you can do to really jazz up and create a dramatic sky.
First, I find that a dramtic sky in nature photographs is much easier to capture when there are a few clouds. Clouds add some interest and form, and they scatter light in weird ways to give you some really unusual effects. To enhance these effects and create more dramatic skies, set your exposure to let less light in (either a faster shutter speed or smaller shutter opening) to your camera, The clouds and sky will be more dramatic and less washed out looking.
Here’s why! Remember Grade 6 science class – clouds are just water vapour, water reflects light, and the millions of water droplets in the clouds refelct lots of light! That’s why they are white! If you reduce the amount of light that reaches the film, (to create a really dramaic sky,) colours will be darker and the areas of really bright light won’t be so overwhelming. This will let more of the colour come through in your final image.
Another very cool thing to do, is to use a polarizing filter. This filter changes the way the camera “sees” light. The filter reduces reflections in the sky, including the light reflected from clouds and haze in the atmosphere. Once again, when you reduce this light scattering, you get a really dramatic sky, and WOW results!
The same image with out a polarizing filter and with one. See what a difference it can make!
You can buy polarizers at just about any camera shop and they’re not too expensive. You just need to know the diameter of the lens you’ll be using it with. Althought it CAN get pricey, I’ve found that having polarizer filters for all my main lenses is a small price to pay for the huge difference in the imact of the images! And finally, here’s a big time tip if you are an avid nature photographer. On your photo outings, wear polarizing sunglasses. It will open up a whole new range of scenes! It’s like seeing with alien eyes! You can see without the glare, so you’ll discover many more unusual scenes and shots to photograph, when using your polarizing filter! ANd you’ll be able to get that dramatic sky shot you are looking for!