Interpret the Sky, Move Your Feet

Inspiration in the Sky

When conditions aren’t inviting me to venture out for some inspired shooting… I just wait for the sky.

Without snow this winter in the mountains where I live, the dry, lackluster terrain just isn’t all that awesome to photograph all by itself. At least it isn’t for my taste. Maybe I’ve gotten picky from living here so long. But whatever the reason, I haven’t been so excited to get out and find new shades-of-brown vistas.

But when the clouds conspire to thrill and delight, all bets are off!

Letting the Sky Inform Your Feet

I’ve gotten so that I can predict the likelihood of a really cool sunset. The clouds will form earlier in the day… they’ll drift either east or west (we’ll get weather conditions from either directions, depending upon conditions)… and if they congregate in some of the more interesting patterns they do around here, I’m on the hunt for my best vantage point for the big show!

In this case, the best action-cam view was over this rather barren area. I always look for a stream or some body of water to liven things up, because if I can get some mirror action going on… it’ll double the fun of whatever happens!

Then, if the clouds hold – as opposed to dissipating right before the sun goes down – we’re in business. I always let the unfolding story in the sky tell me where my feet should be on the ground.

Here, I loved the curve of that creek and how it seemed to lead just out of sight at the horizon – only to leap back into the sky moments laster to continue a heavenly sweep. Cannot RESIST leading lines!

High – or Low?

For this set up, I had to be high enough above the water in order for the reflections – and lines – to show. I often prefer to be at the water’s edge – and near ground level – which can literally double the impact of awesome skies. But in this case, I’d have lost it altogether. So, above it all worked best.

The gorgeous light that reflected over everything brought all the tones on the ground to life! Orange and blue are complementary colors – so that technicolor contrast was a real eye-catcher.

So there you have it… a few thoughts about how positioning yourself can let the late-breaking story in the sky spread to the ground and become a lovely homage to beauty and sunsets – even in the midst of a sleeping, barren landscape.