I was roaming around the Tuscan hills recently, lining up popular trees and distant hills for the right composition. One day I had gray flat skies, not ideal for many subjects I wanted to photograph. I hear this a lot…”Oh boy, skies are overcast, going to be a bad day for photography”. True, there are subjects that don’t photograph well in overcast skies. But I live by this motto: “No matter what the light and conditions, something will photograph well.” On assignments or photo tours, you may only have one hour at a location, and what you get is what you get. Rather than be discouraged, I make it my challenge to create a good image no matter what. If you are on an assignment, your job security rests in producing stunning images for clients, no matter what weather or logistical hurdles get thrown your way.
Another important factor: The more tools you have available, the more options you have to create an image. And when I say ‘tools’, I mean techniques. In this case we found an interesting cemetery, but in flat light. But there was some moody clouds in the sky, which would make a good background for a moody shot. To add drama, I put a Rogue snoot on my SB900, and triggered it off camera using a SU800. For even more effect, I set my white balance to Incandescent and added an Orange full CTO gel over my flash. The white balance turned the sky blue, and the gel corrected the flash to be neutral. This was quick and easy. One minute, gray skies and yuck, the next minute a dramatic moody shot capitalizing on the gray cloudy sky. Learning new techniques, in this case off camera flash, will give you more tools to create ‘solutions’ in your photography.