Nothing but Blue Skies 2

“>blue sky photo by John Rocha at johnrochaphot.netI’m not posting pictures of blue skies just for fun – though it is fun.

There’s a point to this.

Skies are a crucial part of landscape photography.

But they’re pretty hard to get right.

One reason is exposure – a bright sky is very hard to get right without the foreground being underexposed.

It’s not possible to use a reflector or fill in flash on a big field.

You can give filters a try – graduated filters are a popular choice.

Polarizers can work but if you’re a wide angle fanatic like me – well the results are not good.

And – an over exposed sky will be washed out and noisy.

So one approach is to shoot the sky separately and drop it into the picture later.

Oh dear we’re going to get into the manipulation argument again.

But photographers have always manipulated.

Sometimes the manipulation is before the photo – ever seen a wedding photographer rearranging the bride’s dress?

One of my favourite photographers is Robert Doisneau. The chroncler of the street life of Paris and its environs.

He would never manipulate a photo – of course not. Except that his best known picture “The Kiss at City Hall” has a chequered history including a couple who just turned out to be actors.  Court cases and trouble followed.

As he said, “I would never have dared to photograph people like that. Lovers kissing in the street, those couples are rarely legitimate”.

Yes and if you really think that irons are made with pointed screw threads sticking out and that girls really look like violins then Man Ray has fooled you.

So why bother with a photograph at all. Why not just create a sky in photoshop?

People do but I want to keep the photographic link.

For me a model is John Constable the famous landscape painter. Out and about in the fields with a sketchbook and then back to the studio to paint the picture.

Now in my last post my sky was a pretty typical shot. It included a few spots from sensor dust and the odd white spot.

Luckily a sky does not have to be in focus – and here’s another point.

You can’t easily, using a wide angle lens well stopped down for depth of field, expect not to have the sky in focus.

Still, if you shoot the sky separately, focus is not such an issue. For this image I chose a different path – I chose to apply a dust and scratches filter in photoshop – this got rid of the dust spots, white areas and of course, the noise.

And what about size – what if you want your pictures big and sharp?

I currently use a 21 mexapixel Canon 5D Mark 11 as my main camera.

But what if I’d like 30 or 40 or more megapixels?

Can I make the sky bigger?

One approach is interpolation – this works well for skies but it’s not the only way.

For this picture I created a separate layer, duplicated the sky image and flipped it horizontally.

This guaranteed that when I joined the two two layers in letterbox format, the edges would match exactly.layers image



Back to the ADS AND INFO page.

I’m starting to build up information on my favourite dealers.

Before I go further I should declare an interest.

I am affiliated to some dealers. This means that if you choose to buy a product from one of these dealers some money should come my way. This can help me to pay my web host, for example.

I only discuss dealers that I actually use and would use again.

There is no downside to you. The prices are just the same and may even be less as there are sometimes special deals only available through affiliates.

I will state clearly if I’m affiliated to a dealer.

This post I’m highlighting my favourite dealer here in Sofia:

If you’re interested go to PhotoPavilion.

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Stock photography by John Rocha at Alamy

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