The Vastness

Photos of Clouds

I’ve noticed that photos of JUST clouds are sometimes not so great. Even if it is an amazing sunset – aiming the camera up at only the clouds just doesn’t work so well (generally). I can’t figure out why this is – but maybe you have noticed this too?

I think it must have something to do with having a sense of perspective and scale. Clouds with a horizon are better than clouds without a horizon. This seems to be a fairly arbitrary rule, but it does ring true, so perhaps there is something anthropological happening in that humans need to know the distance and magnitude of upcoming weather.

Daily Photo – The Vastness

I know that photographers generally are especially mindful of things and scenes around them, and I wonder if landscape photographers are especially mindful of clouds.

I look at them like a Native American preparing for a reaping of the maize. I’ve really come to understand and respect a wide variety of cloud patterns, even though there are a few configurations and situations that evade me. I really enjoy being able to predict cloud patterns for the next several hours. I’m not always right, but it is a fun game to play with myself.

These humid, windy skies in Virgin Gorda made for a tumultuous tableau. Everything would change quite quickly, so it was harder to predict several hours away. But I did have a good feeling about this time in particular…

I kept a few of the islands in the bottom of the frame so you could get a sense of perspective to see how huge the clouds actually were.

The Vastness

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-01-04 16:08:44
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length17mm (17mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

  • Shea Goff

    love it!

  • I always find it wonderful to see that it’s raining so far away. Great shot!

  • I am a big believer in “JUST CLOUDS” but not all work, just like any other type of subject. Early day/late evening clouds have interesting light… some times just running a back/white filter on any cloud shot helps make it better.

  • susan ratcliff

    Oh wow – this is beautiful!!!

  • Steve Rosenberg

    I love it! I always thought cloud photos were challenging in part because they require special attention in post processing to insure good contrast and sharpness. There so many details that blur during capture.

  • That light is incredible.

  • Incredible shot Trey. Love this one! And I’m a fan of having some kind of horizon beneath the clouds as well. Even if just a little bit depending on what’s on the ground or sea.

  • t_linn

    Those clouds are awesome, Trey, and I agree that the horizon is usually necessary to complete a composition even if the clouds are the primary point of interest.

  • Simply wonderful…!

  • Vincent Randal

    Trey, how close do you think you could get to a shot like this with your NEX-7? I’m assuming you took this with your D800. It’s marvelous.

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks everyone

  • Trey Ratcliff

    I could get pretty much the same shot – but I not sure if the lens would be THIS wide. But still, it would be a cool shot even with 10 less mm! 🙂

  • Casper van Zyl

    I love clouds always looking for strange pattens and shapes,very nice Trey

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