September 29, 2010


On this day in 1758, England's Admiral Horatio Nelson was born.

Two Skies

On the journey home this evening, I was treated to some dramatic activity in the sky. I've been collecting skyscapes for many years, notably for the purpose of adding them to landscapes where the sky activity is lacking. This is a fairly standard operation among landscape photographers, a novice technique that can be done relatively seamlessly in Photoshop. On my last tally, my collection stands at 5,329 variations of cloud formation. In my haste to record these samples, I neglected to readjust the settings on my camera (I'd been shooting some Small JPEGs for a web project) which effected the quality of the recorded images and my ability to do much editing. None the less, I'm sure to find a use for them at some stage - great for backgrounds on website/blog headers.

Photo: Both shot in Manual Mode and in JPEG format, Fine Quality 2144 x 1424 pixels @ 300dpi. I would normally shoot these in RAW. When shooting skies, I always pay very close attention to the histogram and highlights reading in the camera, making sure not to over-expose highlights. On this occasion, I was lucky that I'd done this, otherwise I'd have been left with plenty of blown-out white areas with little chance of saving any of the detail in post-production.
To preserve the integrity of the images as much as possible, I opened them in ACR (it is possible to edit JPEG files in the RAW converter - I recommend it!) and editing in 16bit, made small adjustments to HSL only. I subsequently opened them in PS and saved them as TIF files.
Both images; Lens 10-20mm @ 10mm. ISO 320. 1/640 @ f/11.

Tip; Always keep a little of the landscape in the sky-shot, its very helpful when trying to reconcile the accuracy of cloud perspective when using it as a composite.