An Evening With Clouds

Today evening, by the time I had finished my work, there was a cloud cover all around. Some amount of fog also was there. I had done all of my farming and gardening work for the day. There had been rains on and off throughout the day. Now there was just an overcast. The evening was going to be for photography.


Distant Trees

(Distant trees through a gap in floating clouds)


The clouds were dark at places but overall the sky was just overcast. To the photographer in me, an overcast sky is a precious opportunity. The soft light created by an overcast sky lights up everything evenly. No harsh highlights, no dark shadows. Everything is easier to photograph. Light from the overcast sky means just two small corrections in the settings and nothing else. One is the change of light balance. Such light is cooler in color temperature than the proper daylight. For those of you clicking raw, the adjustment can be made in post-processing, until and unless you prefer the correct color-temperature to be visible on your preview screen too or if you use a software that uses your camera’s settings as the starting point for post-processing. No, I am not at all in favor of using jpegs instead of raw. So, don’t ask me about that. In fact, if you are still clicking jpegs, shift to raw as soon as you can. The second correction is the exposure, especially if you are using evaluative metering modes. This also can be easily done while post-processing or by dialing in proper exposure compensation at the time of clicking (after previewing histograms).


Floating Clouds

(Floating Clouds – they hid the snow-peaks behind them)


The distant hills were hidden behind a cloud cover. Landscapes are usually not very impressive with overcast skies but then I wanted to do something different. I was going to click landscapes with such a sky. Doing portraits and macro is easy with such soft lighting but it is the landscapes that take some effort in making them impactful.

Unlike my usual recommendation of carrying just a lens or two, today I placed three lenses in my camera-bag. A 25mm prime, a 50mm prime, and a 135mm prime. I have an attraction for prime lenses which has never changed. I find primes lighter in weight, better in quality, and more helpful in improving my compositions than any other zooms. Yes, I have had zooms from time to time, but they all get sold. I lose interest in them very quickly. To put things in context – my oldest prime (bought used) was made before I was born, and it still is quite sharp when compared with many other lenses.

The wind was starting to pick up speed. Maybe, there would be more rain at night time. Tomorrow, I have to repair the roof. One of the sheets is loose and keeps flapping with the wind. I hope it doesn’t get blown away tonight. There’s a blue-whistling thrush also sitting under the roof in one corner, staring at the flapping sheet. She has made the corner her home. My thoughts to her – don’t worry. I’ll fix it tomorrow.


(Just another cloudy day!… and yet mesmerizing. This was a dream come true for most time-lapse video creators. Clouds moving around slowly and the landscape changing from moment to moment.)


The clouds were moving in and out of the valley in front. A changing scene with every passing moment. For me, the landscape has to speak out. Without that, there’s no sense in capturing frames. A habit from film days, I still prefer to wait for things to change and fall into place before starting to shoot. The nearby clouds were moving to the sides, some breaks were visible in the overcast. A few more minutes and the landscape should turn interesting.

I clicked some shots fo the clouds floating by and then the distant hills. They look beautiful with the interplay of lights and shadows. Even the terrace farms look different in such a light. Here is another attempt of mine at capturing a terrace farm in the evening light. The spots of shade by the low height clouds created some wonderful effects. I also processed the image later on so as to make it look like a painting from the impressionist era.


Terrace Farms

(Terrace Farms processed like a painting. If this kind of processing interests you, write back to me. If there’s a demand for learning how to process raw files in this manner, I can plan on writing an article about this too.)


The sun was now near the horizon. The sky was starting to change colors. When there are scattered clouds, one can be sure of a colorful sunset. This was one such evening. I shot some series of shots first for creating some panoramas. (Panoramas, Snow & Coffee). By the time I finished those shots, the sun was already down. Sky was full of colors.



(One of the many sunset photographs, that I captured in the evening.)


Soon, it was dark. The wind had picked up speed. A mild drizzle had also started. The lights had started to switch on in the valley long back. Everyone was inside with their families. It was time for me also to go back in. The blue-whistling thrush had also settled herself in one corner. First thing tomorrow – fix the flapping sheet. Neither do I want water dripping inside my living room, nor do I want to discomfort the bird. After all, she was now a companion of mine whenever I sat on my desk writing an article.


For many more photographs from the evening, check out the Instagram stream of Maini’s Hill Cottages, a homestay owned by my family:


Further Reading:
When the clouds clear up!
Panoramas, Snow & Coffee
Capturing Sunsets


One thought on “An Evening With Clouds

  1. I absolutely love photography and one day hope to learn more and start taking my own. So I hope to find a teacher such as you 😉

    The landscapes in overcast light were great, particularly the Floating Clouds photo.

    The terrace farms seem to be 3 dimensional, like I could touch them!


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