Cloudy & Raining

Out of control

S_Lim_2012_00059I would have thought that landscape photography would be the easiest.  I mean the things that I shoot don’t move and are really big.  Maybe it is one of the easier types, I don’t know.  But I still find it tough when there are so many factors I have no control of.

I travel half way round the world to get some good shots, and I often find that it’s too cloudy.  I find it rare to be able to take a good shot if the sky isn’t interesting to look at.  I simply haven’t found a way to shoot an awesome shot on a overcast day.

Raining? Forget about it.  My day is shot right there.  I’m not even considering the added difficulty of keeping my camera and lens dry.  Maybe I could find ways to switch to people photography during these days, but that really isn’t my strength.  Not when I’ve seen great photos of others, and have none that compare.    If any of you have sites or images that I can get some inspiration from for shooting when it is raining let me know.

Then I get to a location and find that the sun is pointing in the wrong direction.  I find it impossible to take photos into the sun.  You may see blue skies inside the view finder, but it’s not going to come through on the sensor.  Physical filters and digital dark rooms never seem to help.  Occasionally maybe I can get a good photo of a silhouette, otherwise I think there is low probability of the awesome shot.

The mysterious and exotic city known as Taipei…

Okay, it’s not that grand, but I never shot photos there before.  And for the 3 days there, I didn’t make much progress.  The skies were overcast or worse it was raining.  The city itself can also be very smoggy even on a clear day.  The only semi decent shot I got was at 4 AM in the morning the first night there when I am still jet lagged.   I was still getting a feel for a new DSLR I had in my possession at the time, and I figured I’d try experimenting with long exposure times at dawn/dusk light.

There were a few challenges.  One was that Taipei 101, the focal point of the picture, was being obscured by clouds.  The second was that I didn’t have a tripod with me.  The clouds opened up every so often, so it gave me windows of opportunity to shoot.  I was on the top floor of the hotel I was staying at and the windows opened up without any screen.  I couldn’t set the camera up on a table and let it sit there for the long 4 to 30 second exposures I was using.  So I braced the camera against the window, and then braced my elbow holding the camera and prayed.  I did a series of these shot for about an hour with mixed results.  Despite all my fiddling, my wife was still sleeping in bed next to me,and never woke up.  So in that regards, it was a resounding success.

I think I got some good shots in.  They aren’t in the best of focus and certainly not the awesome photo I’m searching for, but as long as you don’t zoom in too much (Tapei 101 is a little fuzzy), they are passable.  The shot in this post is one of them using a 35mm focal length.

Photography seems to me, is a sport of opportunity.  I can’t just say today I’m going to take 5 good photos of this, that, and the other.  I can only do what the world gives me.   But when I know I only have a certain window of time to do it.  It can be very frustrating.

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