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To excel at digital photography (or any of your life’s pursuits), you must be willing to face some challenges. Not every picture-taking opportunity will occur on warm, sunny days, with glorious sunsets and happy children and puppies playing on the lawn. In fact, if you live in certain part of the world, the temperate zones, for example, you’ll be confronted with a number of cloudy, overcast days during the winter and parts of the fall and spring. Although that environment may look uninviting, you could easily discover some very interesting and even amazing subject matter and opportunities for your digital photos. This PhotographyTalk.com article shares a few.
It’s a Learning Experience.
Arguably, the most critical element in photography is light, but that light doesn’t have to be full sunlight. Any light, even if it’s low or appears somewhat flat, can create a remarkable mood or reveal something new about any landscape, subject or object. The trick is to learn how to use the light that is available. Sometimes, the even light on a gray or cloudy day can show more details than a bright light that causes more contrast, hiding some details in highlights and shadows. Many athletes, tennis players, for example, prefer to compete on cloudy days because the ball is evenly lit and easier to see. Your digital-photography challenge, therefore, is to accept the conditions you can’t control and use them to your advantage.
Find the Different Images of a Muted Beach.
The first picture that comes to mind when you think of the beach is probably a blue sky, blue water and all the bold colors the bright sun produces. That may be the supposed ideal, but there are equally spectacular digital photos to take on the beach during the winter months. For instance, there may be no distinction between the sea and sky at the horizon line, causing a unique blending of those spaces. The textures and patterns of objects on the beach or in the surf may be more discernible than when bathed in strong light. You may also see more animals acting more naturally because fewer humans are there.
Better for Macro-Photography.
The full blast of sunlight actually makes macro-photography more difficult, since you must protect your close-up digital photos from lens flare and reflections. A cloudy sky diffuses the light, so it strikes your subject matter more evenly.
Be Creative in Black and White.
Although brightly colored objects under a cloudy sky can create interesting contrast in your digital photos, a gray day is a great opportunity to compose pictures that will look even better as black-and-white images. Try various filters to accentuate the many shades of gray in the clouds or water. Textures and patterns are also more likely to pop in black and white than color.
Play with Grain.
The science and technology of digital photography allows the average photography to avoid grainy images; however, some grain can add drama and a special aura to pictures shot in low light outdoors that you later convert to black-and-white with photo-editing software. This takes some practice because you just want a dash of grain, but you may be surprised at how it highlights the bleakness and barrenness of a scene to make it more interesting.
Capture the Stark Beauty of the Dirty and Ugly.
Low light, grain and the absence of color can actually reveal a strange kind of beauty in working or abandoned factories, industrial plants or ugly environments on the “wrong side of the tracks.” Again, the diffused or muted light of a cloudy, gray day emphasizes details and will help you tell more compelling stories with your digital photography of discarded objects or rundown buildings.
Photo copyright PhotographyTalk member Arvind Passey