I’ve recently watched a few videos presented by good photographers in which they each expressed their preference for overcast skies when making an image. A few were even more direct and said they ‘hated’ clear blue skies.
Early one morning I was driving around the local countryside when I saw the possibility for a unique image, so set up my camera, and pointed it to the west. I put on a telephoto lens and started to compose using the mountains to show off the colours of the light from morning sun. After several attempts, nothing seemed to satisfy me. When this happens, which is often, frustration sets in.
Before I gave up on the scene, I decided to wait for the sun to rise higher. I found a grassy spot, sat down, then laid back. At that moment I had no choice but to look at the clear blue sky above. I thought of those other photographers and their ‘hatred’ of clear blue skies, but then, looking to the west with clear skies above, I saw the same scene in reverse. Not as the sky acting as a boring blue tent above the land, but rather the land, comprised of the Alberta foothills and mountains, acting as a border to the tranquility of the clear blue sky. It was then that I saw my image—off with the telephoto and on with the wide angle lens. The colour and shadow was still visible on the land, but I realised that the open blue sky could be my subject. I made my photograph.
I left my camera set up and lay down again on the grass, at peace, frustration gone. As the sun rose, the colours on the mountains disappeared. After half an hour waiting, nothing more inspired me, so I packed up and went home. All I got was the image of the blue sky and I loved it.
Every time I look at my print I get a little of the peace I felt that morning. I think I’ll put it in my bedroom. What an image to have in my head as I fall asleep and just as delightful when I wake up.
“Always take the time to show compassion for those less fortunate, and there are many. Take the time to help a young child cross the street, or to carry a bag of groceries for an elderly lady. And every now and then, look up into that big, beautiful, blue sky and admit that there are things in this world more wondrous than yourself.”