The other day I was asked, “how do you get the sky to be so blue in you photos?”
Truth be told, Mother Nature is doing the work for me – I’m simply capturing what she has to offer.
In a previous tutorial, I discussed a few basic shooting principles the first being: shoot in the direction of your shadow.
Now, there’s generally a lot more to be done than that if you’re shooting with a DSLR. You can use neutral density filters and polarizers to help darken up the sky or you can experiment “in camera”. But, if you’re shooting with an iPhone and the sky is blue and gorgeous in front of you, that’s usually what you’ll get.
If you are shooting with a DSLR, a simple theory from our horsemanship philosophy will suffice: observe, remember, compare, adjust (stolen straight from Buck Brannaman).
By this I mean, it’s not about putting your camera on auto-mode: it’s about learning how ISO, aperture (how wide your lens opens), and shutter speed work together to create exposure. Observing the result of your first attempt, remembering what it looked like and what you liked/didn’t like about it, adjusting the settings or yourself to get a better photograph, and then comparing results.
I rarely shoot in daylight, or even outside at more than 320 ISO. In fact my cameras are usually set to go no higher than 200 ISO. I’m quite certain there are other photographers out there that might disagree with my philosophy but I’m sure we could still be friends.
Before I get into the details of all of the above, I figured I’d start by showing you some iPhone 5 photos I took the other day, on a cloudy morning to illustrate my point.
Both of these were taken at about 9:45 am-ish, on a cloudy morning. While it’s true that I can adjust my iPhone’s exposure setting by touching the screen, in order to see the foreground (or cow/calf pair), I had to allow the sky to be a touch blown out.
Now, look at when I shoot away from the sun and it’s “in theory” right over my shoulder, painting a prettier picture:
You can see the cloudy, gray-blue of the sky. This photo is actually identical to what my eye saw.
In future lessons, we will get in to how you’d set your DSLR if you absolutely had to capture something in broad daylight and were unable to move the subject or yourself, as often happens when we try to capture life around us.
In the meantime, go out and practice: observe, remember, compare and adjust.