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Thread: Photography in Bad Light

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    Going Cold Blooded outstar79's Avatar
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    Photography in Bad Light

    Just an article I found interesting in ND Magazine and thought I'd share - one for the Landscape photographers!
    http://nd-magazine.com/photography-in-bad-light/

    I have certainly found that sometimes, even in bad-ish light situations that certain colour can be drawn out as a contrast to gloomy days you just have to wait for the right moment, such as when the sun peeps out from behind a cloud and gives that lovely contrasty, rich colour:

    IMG_0525 by Adam Brice, on Flickr
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    Adam Brice

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Well peeped, both by you and the sun!

    It actually disproves its own premise. After all, there's no such thing as bad light.
    Last edited by ameerat42; 04-06-2013 at 7:48am.
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    Member Miyuki's Avatar
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    Great article outstar!

    I'm the one who gets disappointed by the bad weather and give up on shooting landscape, and do something else. But 'getting a shot in bad light is always better than getting no shot at all...' is so true!

    Thank you do sharing the article, and also your photo (love the colours!)
    Miyuki

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    Going Cold Blooded
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    Quote Originally Posted by ameerat42 View Post
    Well peeped, both by you and the sun!

    It actually disproves its own premise. After all, there's no such thing as bad light.
    Haha yeah, I suppose! Most of us will attempt to make the best of a bad situation!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Miyuki View Post
    Great article outstar!

    I'm the one who gets disappointed by the bad weather and give up on shooting landscape, and do something else. But 'getting a shot in bad light is always better than getting no shot at all...' is so true!

    Thank you do sharing the article, and also your photo (love the colours!)
    Cheers Miyuki! The challenge is to try and not get discouraged but shooting in poor/bad weather and keep at it - even looking for compositions/subjects that would work better in perhaps black and white!

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    New Member Olive's Avatar
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    I really enjoyed the article. Thanks!

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    Ausphotography Veteran MattNQ's Avatar
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    Thanks Adam. Nice dramatic shot there
    An interesting magazine - hadn't seen that one before - thanks for sharing the link.

    Am is right. No such thing as bad light.

    I love clouds, particular angry dark ones in bad weather - they will make me stop & go back to the house for the camera. Sunset in particular you can get some really unusual light happening.
    A dramatic mono landscape is so much better with clouds (also hides the banding when I overprocess the shot )
    Last edited by MattNQ; 04-06-2013 at 11:06pm.
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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I remember reading that article a while back .. but what struck me as strange wasn't that you can't get good images in such light. It was more about the fact that none of the images posted were actually captured in bad light!

    Same with yours Adam. That light is not actually bad. In fact (as you show) it's actually quite OK. I think a bit heavy handed on the clouds .. but that a personal taste preference.

    Bad light (for landscapes) is a totally featureless grey sky. That is, no matter how hard you punish those pixels, it's nothing but a flat featureless grey mass, and therefore no interesting light quality on terra firma neither.
    Of course this doesn't necessarily mean that you can't still capture an interesting image, as long as the subject matter is strong and the elements work well together you can still get an interesting image out of a flat grey scene too. It's just not easy to find such interesting elements all the time.

    I wasted a trip to Lake Eyre a few months back arriving in flat grey featureless conditions. They started out OK, watched the weather forecast, and saw that there was more likely to be good skies when I arrived. But it turned grey on me for 99% of the time I was up there.
    Had the skies been anything like what you got there, I'd have stayed another day or two.

    But, as I also learned the hard way, even with such flat grey conditions, you still need to be prepared.
    The 5 hour drive back from the lake, down to Wilpena Pound, was all the same grey flat featureless conditions again. I reckon it's about 300-400 k's or so. I thought if the sunset looked like it may come good, I wanted to be around Wilpena. As I approached Wilpena, the skies were still too dull, so I kept heading(towards home) .. but as always via Kanyaka ruins. Another almost hour drive, and yet still more of the same dull sky. I was still going to get to Kanyaka anyhow .. irrespective of the conditions. Kanyaka is one of those sorts of locations.
    But of course, about 30sec before I pulled up at the ruin itself, the sky lit up like a wild fire. it takes about 30 sec to 1 minute to travel the gravel road to the car park and I reckon I did it in 10seconds!
    Mad rush to get there, out of the car and setup with one of those awesome sunsets, but as I plonked the camera down, on tripod, with grads setup .. the sky basically died.
    As Max would say .. "missed it by that much!" .. literally, 10 seconds or so.
    I got the very tail end of it, with minimal amount of colour in the sky, but again I wont push my processing so far as to produce something that wasn't actually there. I haven't posted that image up.
    20 seconds later when I was actually ready to shoot .. of course all colour in the sky was gone. I loitered in the area for about half an hour, just in case, took a few snaps of this'n'that, and headed home.

    Sometimes you just never know.

    But as for your image, I'd have given my Siggy 10-20mm for a sky like that whilst I was up in SA!
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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    Can't say I read many of your epistles, Arthur, but that one made a lot of sense. Bad light is bad light. Landscapes look crap with dull grey skies. Of course, macros or portraits may be excellent, but not always. Usually the light will be good for something but sometimes that something isn't there or isn't interesting. Part of the art of photography is knowing when to forget the camera and smell the roses

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    Going Cold Blooded
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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    I remember reading that article a while back .. but what struck me as strange wasn't that you can't get good images in such light. It was more about the fact that none of the images posted were actually captured in bad light!

    Same with yours Adam. That light is not actually bad. In fact (as you show) it's actually quite OK. I think a bit heavy handed on the clouds .. but that a personal taste preference.

    Bad light (for landscapes) is a totally featureless grey sky. That is, no matter how hard you punish those pixels, it's nothing but a flat featureless grey mass, and therefore no interesting light quality on terra firma neither.
    Of course this doesn't necessarily mean that you can't still capture an interesting image, as long as the subject matter is strong and the elements work well together you can still get an interesting image out of a flat grey scene too. It's just not easy to find such interesting elements all the time.

    I wasted a trip to Lake Eyre a few months back arriving in flat grey featureless conditions. They started out OK, watched the weather forecast, and saw that there was more likely to be good skies when I arrived. But it turned grey on me for 99% of the time I was up there.
    Had the skies been anything like what you got there, I'd have stayed another day or two.

    But, as I also learned the hard way, even with such flat grey conditions, you still need to be prepared.
    The 5 hour drive back from the lake, down to Wilpena Pound, was all the same grey flat featureless conditions again. I reckon it's about 300-400 k's or so. I thought if the sunset looked like it may come good, I wanted to be around Wilpena. As I approached Wilpena, the skies were still too dull, so I kept heading(towards home) .. but as always via Kanyaka ruins. Another almost hour drive, and yet still more of the same dull sky. I was still going to get to Kanyaka anyhow .. irrespective of the conditions. Kanyaka is one of those sorts of locations.
    But of course, about 30sec before I pulled up at the ruin itself, the sky lit up like a wild fire. it takes about 30 sec to 1 minute to travel the gravel road to the car park and I reckon I did it in 10seconds!
    Mad rush to get there, out of the car and setup with one of those awesome sunsets, but as I plonked the camera down, on tripod, with grads setup .. the sky basically died.
    As Max would say .. "missed it by that much!" .. literally, 10 seconds or so.
    I got the very tail end of it, with minimal amount of colour in the sky, but again I wont push my processing so far as to produce something that wasn't actually there. I haven't posted that image up.
    20 seconds later when I was actually ready to shoot .. of course all colour in the sky was gone. I loitered in the area for about half an hour, just in case, took a few snaps of this'n'that, and headed home.

    Sometimes you just never know.

    But as for your image, I'd have given my Siggy 10-20mm for a sky like that whilst I was up in SA!
    Totally agree mate - in fact we certainly get our fair share of hazy, terrible days in Port Hedland - bland white to light blue skies, dust on the horizon and harsh in your face glare. It's great in the dry season, the harshness has gone out of the light but now we have dull grey skies and this morning there was pretty crummy light but I still made do with what I had:

    Vertical Limit 2 by Adam Brice, on Flickr
    But then as you mentioned - I went for a walk away from my office then all of a sudden bursts of light shot through the clouds and gorgeous crepuscular rays lit up the field!!! "missed it by that much!!!" bloomin heck!

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