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Landscapes and Light

Lesson 6 of 12

Understand & Work with Cloudy, Stormy, and Blah Light

Matt Kloskowski

Landscapes and Light

Matt Kloskowski

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Lesson Info

6. Understand & Work with Cloudy, Stormy, and Blah Light

Lesson Info

Understand & Work with Cloudy, Stormy, and Blah Light

cloudy, stormy and block. Like so blah lay is an official term. By the way, there's officially something called blah, blah, blah. Lay is light. That's just block. Yeah, but cloudy, Stormy and Blalock so cloudy, stormy. This could be the most spectacular light of all this. Really can. When I first started really getting into the shooting outdoors, I used to think I wanted to go somewhere and I would look at the weather forecast and I will look for clear. Like if it said clear and sunny. I was like, OK, good. It's gonna be clear and sunny and I'm gonna get my sunrise or my sunset And now when I go somewhere and I go shoot, I'm looking for storms. Now I'm not looking for 100% rain written on there, but I'm I love it when I see that that partly cloudy are mostly cloudy forecast with a chance of rain. That's what I'm looking for. That's what I want to see because those photos could be spectacular. You're gonna see at the end. I told you I'm gonna save your normal sunrise and sunset shots fo...

r the last at the end because we'll talk about that? Those photos air good. These photos could be spectacular or taken. Totally suck. Just that's what happened that that that is the gamble you take when you go out there. You have no idea what what that weather is going to do. The clouds can open up and making part, and they can give you some gorgeous color and gorgeous beams and everything like that. Or it could just sock in and you get nothing. So what works? Ah, big skies. It's cloudy to overcast day. Really big skies help take advantage. You think about this. If you're out there and you're shooting, there's not a lot going on, you see in the next photo. But I'm gonna favor the sky, and we're gonna play with that. We're gonna use that inside of post processing. We can crank up the contrast on it. So big skies, trees, fog, all that helps atmosphere. Anything that's gonna add atmosphere to it beaches, city streets after rains, there's there's things that you can shoot in bad weather. So here's one. This was Death Valley me. Nobody. Mine took a trip out to Death Valley for a couple of days, and you know we go rolling into the park, and this is what we were greeted with. So I'm like sitting down like, what do I shoot? You know, there's there's the hills and everything, but to me, like what grabbed me about the shot like Look at those clouds. You know, there's so much texture. It almost looks like What's that move? Lord of the Rings like that, Mawr's or whatever that was exploding off in the distance. But it looks like ominous, like there's this volcano happening back there. But, you know, I'm gonna favor that. That's that's what's interesting about the shop. Captured trees, fog atmosphere. They can still be nice photos again. Remember, not everything is a portfolio photo. All these photos tell the story this shot this This is like 20 minutes from my house. I go shoot this beach all the time because the tides are always different Rock. Everything's always different. But I got out there one summer evening and look at the clouds. You know, it's like it looks like it's about to erupt. Okay, obviously, safety first. So I'm not telling you. Go out there and shoot in the and thunderstorms, but, um you look it. Look at all this. See the light and see the red. I barely did anything to that. Like, that was what it looked like. I had a buddy of mine with me who doesn't live in Florida. And he's like, Holy crap, I never see skies like this, but that's what the sunsets look like. This was This was cool. So you guys saw a different shot of this in the sidelight shot? Um, this was sunset. That other one was sunrise. This was Sunset. Ended up being one of my favorite photos from the trip, and we weren't even supposed to go there. But we left another area. We saw this storm rolling in. Remember those trees that had the snow on it that I talked about before? That was the storm that dumped on the all the snow in there. We saw the storm rolling in and we decided to go up here. We pulled up to it. This was taken off of the roof of the car because it was literally like it was the The clouds are just rolling through. And to me. I love all those little specks like that Hit the mountains in the background. But all the clouds and all the atmosphere like that to me is the photo. Before I thought was cool to me, that latest spectacular. That's what I'm looking for. Like it when I can get that, it's It's awesome. Um, and then I swear, Third, like if you didn't get out of the car, put your camera down and shoot. You missed it. People. People got out of the car and they were open up their trunks and they're sent up there. Try pas and doing this and doing that and walked over. It was gone. If you literally did not get out of the car, put your cat your camera on the hood and shoot. If you missed it, um, another one. You have just crazy, crazy clouds. There may have been a little bit of post production on this may have been hope, but those clouds that like that you looked up and you saw those little puffy dark clouds. Just it was crazy on again. What's interesting about this shop about that weather about that late? Well, it's it's blah light, but the clouds or what's interesting and again this is blocked but the barn is cool. So make the most ill a barn. There's not too much in this guy. I pumped the heck out of the white balance in it to make it look warm because it wasn't. It was all grey, but it favors the barn because the barn was the cool part of the photo. Um, I'm in Norway and Ah, and I went on this. I was excited all week to go on this little cruise through the fjords. And this is the weather that I had the entire cruise. It was one. It was like a day long cruise to the fuel. But this was the weather that I had the entire time. Still cool, so different. Same thing. Yosemite like you get what you get, not always gonna get it. But there's things that we can do to ah, to enhance it. So let's take a look. Here s o the photo tip for this. Um, I said good light is well, good. Um, but dramatic and stormy like can be spectacular. So I kind of said that to you guys early. Here's an example. All right. This was blue. When we got there, Blue skies with a couple of white clouds coming in. The storm's rolling in and we just we were packing up to leave and then all of sudden he's a little late. Spears the lights started coming through the clouds and hit it and then we're are packed up. So we stopped. We unpacked and we probably waited, like 45 minutes because it really didn't happen again. But it eventually did. And that's the shot that I got from it. All the light coming through those clouds and to me, Like I said to me, I'll take this any day over just plain sunny day. This is the weather that I look for when I want to go out there. I got lucky one day with a rainbow along the coastline and then, ah, a storm was coming in and there was a couple of breaks in the clouds and couple stormy weather with backlight and and water. And you get some cool effects, Another photo tip. So city streets look awesome after it rains. It helps to be in Paris. I won't help so have a cobblestone road. And to be in Paris I will not high but city streets look really cool after it rains. So you're outdoors. I'm not just talking landscapes. I'm trying to help people figure out what kinds of things to shoot. What kind of late to look for? This is reflected light. You know, this is light that reflects off of the city streets because it just rains how to capture it. So how to capture? We, uh, we bracket like crazy if it's stormy and changing. So when I say bracket, I mean that auto exposure bracketing I turned it on. So it takes three shots. The middle one plus two stops, minus two stops. Why do I do that? I don't necessarily always merge them together in an HDR. In fact, that very rarely do that. I do that because this weather is changing. The last thing I want to be doing is meat oring and adjusting settings and messing with exposure and on dure exposure compensation and looking at the history. I don't want to be doing that because remember that when I told you we pulled up. I just put my foot my camera and think it was set the auto bracket. Click, click, click, click. I got it. one of those shots, is it? So if the if the weather is changing, if the clouds are moving through bracket like crazy, get the shop versus trying to be technical and think, well, that lead over. There is 1/2 a stop less than the light over here. So I'm gonna go. They just bracket, um, and then and then, if not, if the If it's not, If it's stormy weather, chances are it's going to be a little flatter. You can get away with just one shot for So let's take a look at some post processing for this one. Lots of contrast and shadows. Um, can we go back to the side? Cause Ariel? Lots of contrast, shadows and highlights because that's really what's going to be crazy about the scene, right? Shadows highlights all over. And then I said, Post, process the crap out of it because we're trying to make something out of out of blah weather a lot of times, and we can kind of push the colors and push shadows and highlights to make something out of it, and then white balance is going to help with us. So let's take a look here. So this was one of my one of my sunset shoots in Yosemite. It's, You know, you kind of see the just blah back there. Block clouds Not not really that interesting. So what do we do? Well, waken pull back our highlights. See, there is some detail back there, so pull that back a little bit. Um, I have to open up shadows too much. We're good there. Whites and blacks is gonna help give this some contrast. Remember, we want contrast. All right. Um, clarity is gonna help Give it a little bit more contrast. Saturation is going to help. And then I typically don't use a graduated and d filter in the field on. That's because I just feel I can get better results from it here. So you ever seen a graduated neutral density filter? It's dark and it graduates or fades into clear. You hold it up to tone down the sky, makes the sky a little brighter and still exposes the foreground. So we have that inside a light room, right? Appear at the top, and I'll just drag it down, so I'll make it really dark. You can see what it's doing and then I could even push a little blue into it. And clouds love clarity, so that will help define the clouds a little bit more. All right, so if you take a look here, that's before that's after, um, here. Let's hide that. There we go. That's before that's after made something out of it. You know, we're pushing it a little bit. I said Post, process the crap out of it. So what Post processes the post process? The crap out of it. Means is all add effects to this one, too. So I've got, um, I mentioned I work for on one, but before I worked for on one, I actually used their plug ins. So it's not like I went to work and had to start using the plug and actually went to work there because I used the plug ins and I believe in him. But to me, the's air styles you know, these effects or styles light room, great for exposure shadows, highlights, lens corrections, noise reduction, some of the things that we've been doing great for that stuff. But for my style, I think most people tend to use some type of ah plug in our own affect, therefore, but what? What I'll do is when I especially when I get a situation like this. But really all my photos have a style. Um, the perfect effects has landscape presets. So there's one called Golden Hour Enhancer, and it adds these photo filters, and it adds these contrast filters and what not but take a look. That's that's before. And that's after just kind of gives it a nice, warm feeling enhances the contrast a little bit. Another one here is summer. That's a pretty cool, but I think I like the think I like the golden hour enhance or a little bit better. Yeah, I see that that does good for the color. It actually gives a little bit of a softening glow, but to may I want I want to push some warmth into that so I can hit that one. So when I say post, process the crap out of it. Remember, these are not these air photos that you're gonna really have to push a little bit because you didn't have ideal conditions when you took it. All right. Okay. So let's go. Moving on. Um, how we doing? over there? Yeah. You want one? Sounds good. Mostly sort of equipment related. Want to know about the lens that you prefer for your landscape shooting and are using a tripod? Okay, eso the lens that I prefer I use. There's there's kind of the trio I will use the 16 to 35. There's 18 30 fives. There's 14 to 24. So something in that range. But for May, I'm going to use the to 35 the 24 to 70 and the 72 200. If I were to say what's on my camera the most it's gonna be the to 70 reason being is that I used to shoot super wide. And then what I found is is I wasn't liking my photos as much, and because it compresses everything that's off in the distance. So I'd have these big, majestic mountains, and that small off in the distance becomes shooting super wide. So I you're gonna find my to 70 on the most, and if I can't fit it in there than I re cropped the photo, too, I figure out a way to fit it in when I was in Yosemite. That was the that was the deviation from that because sometimes, like you had El Cap in the distance. But then you had some flowers or something in the foreground or water, and my 24 to 70 just couldn't get it. And so I would put ahead of 14 to 24 16 and 35. Put that on and that got me. And then the 72 200 is like I kind of want to get more intimate, you know, like after the sunrise, after you got your big wide shot, you saw a lot of those tree and flower shots. Zoom in a little bit and yes, always a tripod, always a tribe. Always try, but I can't help unless it's midday, unless it's midday. And, yeah, my shutter speed says 1/1000 of a second on the camera. But other than that, always a tripod. Great, thank you were good

Class Description

In Landscapes and Light, Matt covers all of the different types of natural light you'll encounter while shooting landscape photography out in the field. 

There isn’t much you can do to influence the light Mother Nature provides on any given day, but you can learn how to work with it. In this class, Matt will show you amazing tips for how to capture the best possible light when shooting, and he’ll discuss the best tools for post-processing and making the most out of any outdoor photo shoot.

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Trisha Davis

A lot of helpful tips and tricks to get the shot you need, even if you arent in the perfect location at the perfect time. There is beauty everywhere, you dont always have to travel to find it. Overall I enjoy Matt's classes because he stays on topic and speaks clearly.


Excellent class. I especially appreciated the specifics of what types of subjects work best in each light, as well as the Lightroom tweaks that work best with each. This is a very helpful guide.


I have been looking for this specific type of information. I love the outdoors and have always wanted to be able to capture it. Great course. The examples really helped and loved the part about blah weather. I really needed that because I would just stay home and not shoot on those days. Now I feel inspired to go out in any weather. Thanks.