Bland Skies

Earlier this week, the weather forecast made depressive reading for landscape photographers: a calm day with cloud cover throughout. When starting out in photography a number of years ago, I had already learnt that, often, it’s best not to bother with the sky when it is uniformly blue or grey. This advice can be found everywhere, and I am sure it is sound advice, SOME OF THE TIME. But it can also become a convenient excuse for not trying.

I spent some time in West Sussex, exploring the coastline with its wave breakers. I have much to learn about tides and the weather and how they interact. Having hoped that the high tide would make for some crashing wave pictures, I was left disappointed. The sea was calm, the sky was bland and I was left wondering how I could translate this into a photograph.

But a little play with my 10-stop filter (to lengthen the exposure time) as well as a newly acquired hard grad ND filter (to keep in the highlights of the bright sky), resulted in the image below, which seems to have captured the calmness of the day perfectly. And the sky was not as uniform in colour as my eyes had made out! The fine texture effectively mirrored the patterns in the sea.

The lesson? If things are not as expected, change the game plan. Try out different techniques. And persevere! 

Blue Hour