The Thing About Travel Photography

The weather on my last trip was pretty dicey in terms of photographic potential.  But that’s the thing about travel photography is that you just never know what Mother Nature is going to dish up for you.  Some days you can go out and be greeted with beautiful sunrises and other days, the sun just pops up into the sky without any fanfare at all.  Still other days you could be met with clouds or rain or even snow.  There’s just no way around it and unless you live in the area and can go shooting when the weather is optimum, you only have two choices, shoot what you have or don’t shoot at all.  Frankly, I would rather have something to remember my travels than nothing at all so I shoot.  That doesn’t mean I always have to settle for bad shots when the skies won’t cooperate.  One of the best ways to overcome blank, overcast skies is to just ignore them and shoot for black and white.  Either in camera or through post-processing, you can get some pretty decent black and white shots on those cloudy days.

Not the greatest of shooting days...

...but not too bad as a black and white image.

Another option is to not show the sky at all.  Cloudy conditions mean no sun but they also mean no harsh shadows and nice, saturated colors.  If the clouds move in on you, try concentrating your photography on colorful items that will come to life when the skies are gray.  Just make sure you adjust your white balance to compensate for the typically cool tones that accompany a cloudy sky.

Taken inside a Tea Room while shaking off the cold.

The sun finally came out shortly after I took this shot.

Sometimes as photographers we get lucky and all the necessary components line up just right for us and we get that shot that we envisioned.  Sometimes we need to look past those shots and deal with what we have.  These are the moments that make us better photographers.

Comments

  1. I’ll never be good but I do enjoy seeing your work. Hope you had a wonderful trip.

  2. Hope you had a great time in Bruges. Too bad you didn’t have the luck to visit it on a bright and sunny day or when the city was covered in snow. Looks like you really picked the worst day ;-) Maybe next time?
    The shot from the ‘brievenbus’ is very nice!

  3. William says:

    You are right about travel photography in that we get what we get and time is not really our friend when traveling. I think we all want to get that post card shot and when we get the opportunity to photograph something that we’ve planned and imagined for a long time we find that nature just isn’t cooperating. It is hard to not be disappointed that the weather or time of day didn’t cooperate with us.
    I have a photo of a thermometer I took while in Rothenburg it shows the temp at -10C. Just a reminder that sometimes we need to look for alternatives.
    We need to have fun while traveling. There is always the next photo and the next opportunity make the best of them.
    My philosophy about photography is: “The worst photo ever is the one not taken.”

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  5. [...] Skys Are Gray… 13 04 2010 Jeff Revell from PhotoWalkPro has a great tip regarding taking photographs on overcast/cloudy days.  He suggests shooting in [...]

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