How do you shoot overcast days?

Discussion in 'Geographic Location' started by RattyMouse, Mar 16, 2018.

  1. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Member

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    In Kyoto now and it looks like I'll have a grand total of one sunny day. The rest will be cloudy and overcast. Any suggestions on how to spice up photos that have featureless clouds and the light that results from this condition? I was going to shoot some Ektar film here but can't find any at all in the shops so I've got AgfaPhoto Vista 200 as my main color film along with Superia 400. TMAX400 and Acros are my monochrome pieces of ammunition.
     
  2. Helios 1984

    Helios 1984 Member

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    Maybe a skylight filter to warm up the place?
     
  3. Old_Dick

    Old_Dick Member

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    Are you doing the development?
     
  4. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    AIIRC a CC 10R or 20R filter will give you a bit more warming than a skylight filter.
     
  5. RPC

    RPC Member

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    For warming I would use the 81 series filters. 81A or 81B should work well under cloudy conditions.
     
  6. FerruB

    FerruB Member

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    TMAX400 and Acros are probably not the best film in the conditions you described, especially if you are after punchy, spiced up pictures. TriX and Delta 100 would probably be a better choice
    Cheers,
    Ferru
     
  7. Andrew O'Neill

    Andrew O'Neill Subscriber

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    Spice it up with strong compositions.
     
  8. guangong

    guangong Subscriber

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    For my own tastes I actually prefer the look of overcast days when using color film. Colors seem richer and not as garish as when photographed under bright sun. To each his own.
     
  9. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i would rather shoot on overcast days, and over expose from a regular meter reading by 1-2 stops..
    its the perfect lighting for just about everything from b/w to color+e6 to paper negatives ..
    have fun!
    john
     
  10. mark

    mark Member

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    FInd the Michael Kenna Hokaido video on youtube. amazing overcast snow work.
     
  11. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    I'm with jnanian. My first thought in response to "How do you shoot overcast days?" was Happily! It's easier to add contrast than it is to take it away. Look for strong compositions and scenes where details reign (details get short shrift when saturation and contrast catch the eye first).
     
  12. Andrew O'Neill

    Andrew O'Neill Subscriber

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    When I was in Japan last Spring, it was overcast nearly everyday, for the two weeks I was there. Got some nice ones, especially in the bamboo forests... even with IR film!
     
  13. Andrew O'Neill

    Andrew O'Neill Subscriber

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    If you're lucky, you might run into mooseontheloose.
     
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    RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Member

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    She's in Europe now. :sad:
     
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    RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Member

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    For monochrome, yes.
     
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    RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Member

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    Thank you.
     
  17. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Although I do not have a problem with sunny days either.
     
  18. 1kgcoffee

    1kgcoffee Member

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    I'm no expert, but I have had some good luck overexposing portra in such conditions. It's an 'hdr' film shot with lower dynamic range situation. The result is some very rich tones, not overdone as sometimes in the case of digital.

    If you want the contrast, maybe push process it? I guess it depends on the mood and the look you are going for.
     
  19. Ste_S

    Ste_S Member

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    Generally I work with what I've got rather than trying to force it into something it isn't.
    With featureless grey skies and flat light I'll shoot B&W and go for minimal compositions
     
  20. howardpan

    howardpan Subscriber

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    I have learned that cloudy days are great for capturing the mico contrast within a scene. you can really bring out the details in the darkroom. Cloudy days have been described as a natural soft boxes.
     
  21. alanrockwood

    alanrockwood Member

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    Shadows can be less harsh as well. You might have to concentrate more on close ups than on landscape scenes. These will probably look better in soft lighting than they would in full sunlight. One danger is that flat lighting might lead to flat-looking scenes. If it is only lightly overcast then there can be at least a little shadow for modeling. Take care to try an see how the subtle lighting affects the subject modeling.

    Try to separate your subject from the background. I can't say this is always harder or easier under overcast conditions than under sunlight conditions, but I think it tends to be a little harder.

    Soft lighting of an overcast day will be better for people pictures than hard sunlight, unless it's raining. However, even if it is raining it might lead to unique ways of looking at your subjects.

    Obviously, exposure is going to be an issue, but the lower light levels will lead you to open up the aperture, which can be better at throwing the background out of focus, so choose subjects where this is a desired effect.

    Others have mentioned filters.

    You probably want to avoid including the sky in most of your photos, but in some cases you might want to include some sky for mood setting or to set the scene of the travel photo so you remember some aspects of the travel (for memory-type photos at least). Also, in some cases the sky itself may hold interest, especially on those occasions when the weather is breaking.

    For film choice you might favor a higher contrast film and/or one with greater color saturation, unless you intentionally want to go for more subtle colors.

    Most of my comments are a obvious, a bit naive, and amateurish, but might serve as useful reminders.
     
  22. Kodachromeguy

    Kodachromeguy Subscriber

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    I agree! I much prefer soft, muted light for my work. The example below is a rare overcast day in the Los Angeles valley - real clouds, not smog. This is the abandoned Lockheed Propulsion Company rocket fuel plant in Redlands, California. I think bright glarey sun would have ruined the effect. This is the inexpensive Fuji 200 film, shot with a Yashica Electro 35CC camera.

    CA04_LockeedRocket_Redlands_20171109_resize.JPG
     
  23. jtk

    jtk Subscriber

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    That's at least 10M. Redlands looks more yellow-green.
     
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