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Posted (edited)

It seems as if the majority of Alamy contributors are in the UK. (???)

 

I am now in the UK myself. I'm curious about what the British approach is to shooting in British weather, which you may have noticed is often gray and overcast? Now good light is light that works but I tend to prefer lighting that is upbeat. I don't consider pics of buildings on flat, overcast skies upbeat. And if you scan the monthly images that have sold, you don't see much "bad" lighting.

 

What do you think? 

 

Edo (in Liverpool, where the sun is shining as I type this)

 

 

Edited by Ed Rooney

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Posted (edited)

I don't usually bother with grey skies unless there's no option. But if I can make the sky look dramatic I might have a go. You can usually pull quite a bit out of a RAW, and you can wring a lot out of the tiniest bit of  blue with selective saturation in LR. I stop before it goes too turquoise.

 

KH40EA.jpg

If you can get the focus away from the sky, that can work- this is a seller. There's even a bit of sky work in it- IIRC the original is solid white.

DB51T0.jpg

KDRFD6.jpg

Edited by spacecadet

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Ed, the summer of 2019 is no 'classic', but let me put in a good word for the English weather/climate for photography. My favourite conditions are part sunny/part cloudy (which is why I call my blog 'Broken Cloud'). A big blue sky, to me, is like a bare bulb in a room: too bland, too blue, while the sun coming out of partial cloud cover is more 'descriptive'. Even grey skies can be photogenic, I think. What we get is variety ('all four seasons in one day). You'll learn to love it... just like you'll learn to love warm beer. 😀

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23 minutes ago, Ed Rooney said:

It seems as if the majority of Alamy contributors are in the UK. (???)

 

I am now in the UK myself. I'm curious about what the British approach is to shooting in British weather, which you may have noticed is often gray and overcast? Now good light is light that works but I tend to prefer lighting that is upbeat. I don't consider pics of buildings on flat, overcast skies upbeat. And if you scan the monthly images that have sold, you don't see much "bad" lighting.

 

What do you think? 

 

Edo (in Liverpool, where the sun is shining as I type this)

 

 

 

Welcome to England, Ed :) If you wait long enough, the sun always shines (!). 

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For my personal comfort, I like the weather here. For photography, not so much. And I lived in Oxfordshire all through the '80s. My question is about photography.

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9 minutes ago, Ed Rooney said:

 

For my personal comfort, I like the weather here. For photography, not so much. And I lived in Oxfordshire all through the '80s. My question is about photography.

 

I guess its a matter of getting used to it (for photography) - cloudy weather is often the norm (and 'reality') in Northern Europe. As the others have said, it is possible to pull detail out of the sky, and I also feel that a completely blue sky can be harsh and bland. I'm sure you will adjust (if you are here long enough) - Oxfordshire is in the Cherwell Valley a geographical area which captures the sun, so we can be much more fortunate here. I hope you enjoy your stay.

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Posted (edited)
49 minutes ago, John Morrison said:

Ed, the summer of 2019 is no 'classic', but let me put in a good word for the English weather/climate for photography. My favourite conditions are part sunny/part cloudy (which is why I call my blog 'Broken Cloud'). A big blue sky, to me, is like a bare bulb in a room: too bland, too blue, while the sun coming out of partial cloud cover is more 'descriptive'. Even grey skies can be photogenic, I think. What we get is variety ('all four seasons in one day). You'll learn to love it... just like you'll learn to love warm beer. 😀

 

I agree wholeheartedly with this except for the warm beer. Sunshine and blue sky with some cloud is perfect although there are a lot of different cloud types and a huge variation in cloud cover which is not mentioned in normal weather forecasts. Partly cloudy can mean all things to all forecasters it seems. 

 

I would add that there is a huge variation in the British (even English) weather so generalising will often miss the true picture. Liverpool is on the west coast so is influenced by the Atlantic although is shielded by Ireland. Go north into Cumbria and Scotland or south into Cornwall to experience real Atlantic weather. The south-east is a lot drier and warmer than the north-west. This summer has been very mixed with few prolonged spells of settled warm weather but there is hopefully some on the way soon, at least in the south. Predictions are for temps in the mid-20s this coming weekend which would be really nice. 

 

As for photography, I avoid including bland grey skies in any of my pictures. If the sky is grey and bland then I move in close to whatever it is I am shooting. 

Edited by MDM
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Ian always uses the Met Office app to plan a few days ahead.

Tomorrow he will be up at 5am to photograph a particular tree (for a commission) and he needs early morning cross lit low sunlight.

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Posted (edited)

"upbeat" lighting is pretty well a must. That leaves a lot of down-time for photographers. I'm often amazed how many photographers upload scenics with very poor lighting. Surely they can see it's not going to excite buyers? People who look at my stuff often remark that I get good skies. No I wait for good skies! Dull day? camera stays in the bag. As others have said, you can move in and do details, but there's no substitute for good interesting lighting. That doesn't mean clear blue skies. You can only rescue so many shots with post processing. 

Edited by Robert M Estall

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Just looked at the last 100 sales, good light in 8 of them. Adequate light or details in the rest. 

 

 

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While I agree with the sentiments of waiting for good skies and possibly altering composition to minimise the amount of sky in a shot if the sky is boring, I guess to some extent it comes down to individuals' time and opportunity. For me, time to go out and take photographs is limited as it tends to be woven into opportunities that I encounter during a busy life with a young family and a career outside of photography. Additionally, there are often places that I am visiting as a one-off. So more often than not, I tend to just have to accept whatever sky happens to be there at the time.But I guess if time is on your side and a location is readily available to you then waiting for "upbeat" lighting works!

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Posted (edited)

From  my last 100: 50 brilliant light (can be bad weather though); 8 bad light or bad weather; rest indoors or details in flat light.

 

https://c7.alamy.com/thumbs/4/63D4DAD0-AF3D-433E-992F-CAE0BE46D9BD/PDMKRF.jpg  https://c7.alamy.com/thumbs/4/25CCEFE9-5032-4AB3-8E69-E99DF8E47583/EFDRKX.jpg  https://c7.alamy.com/thumbs/4/CDED42F9-0413-4418-8D60-CB0667220BFE/GW5GE0.jpg  https://c7.alamy.com/thumbs/4/C4CAA16F-434E-4EE4-8528-F77EF4241C33/GW5GE3.jpg  https://c7.alamy.com/thumbs/4/17A8850D-96EC-4702-B897-1A84FCB1F01D/GT7CEP.jpg

NL - US - UK - UK - UK (hmm looks like a pattern 😁)

 

wim

Edited by wiskerke
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I try to wait for a day with at least some sunny spells in the forecast if I am visiting a particular place to take photographs. I seem to spend quite a lot of time waiting for clouds to pass over though. If there's no choice about when to photograph something, I just do my best whatever the weather, and try to improve the photos in Lightroom.

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weather, especially British, is a subject in its own right...

 

 

km

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37 minutes ago, Matt Ashmore said:

While I agree with the sentiments of waiting for good skies and possibly altering composition to minimise the amount of sky in a shot if the sky is boring, I guess to some extent it comes down to individuals' time and opportunity. For me, time to go out and take photographs is limited as it tends to be woven into opportunities that I encounter during a busy life with a young family and a career outside of photography. Additionally, there are often places that I am visiting as a one-off. So more often than not, I tend to just have to accept whatever sky happens to be there at the time.But I guess if time is on your side and a location is readily available to you then waiting for "upbeat" lighting works!

 

I could have written this. This is the story of my life, especially this summer. We've been in Europe since late June. Some locations I was only able to shoot on a single day, so I had to take what I got. 😕

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6 hours ago, Ed Rooney said:

It seems as if the majority of Alamy contributors are in the UK. (???)

Im not sure! I believe Alamy have said that the US office earns more than the UK  so if we have fewer contributors I guess we earn more per image. Or are you talking about the forum?

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1 hour ago, Matt Ashmore said:

While I agree with the sentiments of waiting for good skies and possibly altering composition to minimise the amount of sky in a shot if the sky is boring, I guess to some extent it comes down to individuals' time and opportunity. For me, time to go out and take photographs is limited as it tends to be woven into opportunities that I encounter during a busy life with a young family and a career outside of photography. Additionally, there are often places that I am visiting as a one-off. So more often than not, I tend to just have to accept whatever sky happens to be there at the time.But I guess if time is on your side and a location is readily available to you then waiting for "upbeat" lighting works!

 

It is often possible to improve the sky by using a grad filter (preferably in post for me) to get some detail into even a grey sky if there is some variation in the cloud cover (cumulus clouds against a grey sky). A lot of your pics on page 1 do have some cloud texture so that works I think. What doesn't work for me is a completely bland white or light grey sky with no detail or texture in the clouds. If that is the case, then I try to exclude sky if at all possible. If it is a landscape then I just don't bother as I know I will never use the pics for anything. 

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43 minutes ago, Shergar said:

Im not sure! I believe Alamy have said that the US office earns more than the UK  so if we have fewer contributors I guess we earn more per image. Or are you talking about the forum?

There's another thread showing most recent ten sales. Looking at that I think this is true (bigly).

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Basically, what we have here is a judgement call. Photography, art, life -- everything has judgement calls. I don't see myself shooting wide scenes where the lighting is not good and calling it good enough. Good enough is rarely a reason to upload an image. I know the PP tricks. Sometimes they work. Mostly they are a weak bandage. 

 

There are two lessons I've learned during my travel assignment days. Airlines and tour companies want to suggest to travelers that there will be good weather on their holiday. And if I went somewhere on a shoot and got bad weather, I would loose that client. Weather is not in the control of a photographer but middle management want to point a finger when things go wrong and it's easy to point at the photog, who's an outsider. 

 

For me, a stock image needs good light, good composition, and good color. It also needs a reason for the capture. So if a caption comes to mind, it's stock. 

 

Keith mentioned that UK weather is a subject. He's right, of course, but that is mostly Live News not Stock. There is a difference between the two, even if they sometimes overlap. 

 

M93287.jpg

 

Edo

 

 

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16 hours ago, MDM said:

 

It is often possible to improve the sky by using a grad filter (preferably in post for me) to get some detail into even a grey sky if there is some variation in the cloud cover (cumulus clouds against a grey sky). 

 

Absolutely... and I have learnt to pay attention to the histogram on the back of the camera to see how a shot is exposed. I find I increasingly become less concerned about getting a 'near finished' picture in camera and more concerned about capturing enough data without clipping off one side of lights or darks. If I have the information, I can then bring the image back to how I actually saw it in post-processing.

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Nowadays I usually shoot video if the light is flat and rather poor for still imagery. The lower light levels enable me to get a 1/50 shutter speed without having to reach for the variable ND filter. Brightish flat light under a thin grey cloud is good  though when shooting stills in the city streets, avoiding the harsh contrast between shadows cast by tall buildings and pools of bright sun. 

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On 19/08/2019 at 10:23, John Morrison said:

Ed, the summer of 2019 is no 'classic', but let me put in a good word for the English weather/climate for photography. My favourite conditions are part sunny/part cloudy (which is why I call my blog 'Broken Cloud'). A big blue sky, to me, is like a bare bulb in a room: too bland, too blue, while the sun coming out of partial cloud cover is more 'descriptive'. Even grey skies can be photogenic, I think. What we get is variety ('all four seasons in one day). You'll learn to love it... just like you'll learn to love warm beer. 😀

 

Warm beer? No one has ever served me a warm beer in the UK. Real ale (and such) is served at cellar temperature and the lager cold. Not as cold as in the USA or in Spain, but chilled. Cold. I had a pint of real ale with my lunch today. In that pub just now, I saw two different drafts of Guinness, one marked extra cold. What the?

 

 

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Sure English ale should be cellar cool and lager fridge cold. The Australians go a step further and keep the glasses in a glass-fronted cooler just behind the bar so they can grab a glass and fill it in one swift move and hand it across the bar as near to freezing as they can manage. Cold Guinness rather than cool sounds wrong, but I don't see any harm in it.  if that's what Scousers fancy, fair enough. Nobody wants "warm" beer, that's just silly talk.A cold lager on a hot day is perfect, a cool ale in front of a fire in a winter pub is excellent too.

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Posted (edited)

Back to the weather - in 2016 I did the Gobbins Cliff Path walk in Northern Ireland.  You have to book in advance so have to take pot luck with the weather and I got the short straw - it was a dull and misty day with the mist literally down to sea level.  I've had six sales from that walk...

 

The Gobbins Cliff Path, near Islandmagee, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, UK Stock Photo

 
 
Edited by Vincent Lowe
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Just yell at the skies like Grandpa Simpson till they bend to your will!

 

No — I've learned to appreciate all kinds of skies, and I do my best to work with whatever Mother Nature gives me on the day. (Other than having slowly learned not to waste my time shooting buildings that will have angles too much in shadow in the afternoon of a cloudless, sunny day. Just too much contrast to try to compensate for, even with fill light in Lightroom.) 

 

The positives of flat gray or white days can be nice, even light; having subjects or elements of subjects really stand out against the neutral background; and sometimes lending photos a brooding, Impressionist, painterly look. 

 

Play the hand you're dealt. And if it's absolutely unplayable, that's just Mother Nature telling you to go home and tend to admin!

 

Now I'm off to spend the day doing admin and clearing off my computer so I can actually upload the 128 Gb cards I seem to be filling every few weeks now . . .

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