Nice clouds and good light are considered essential for landscape photography but it can often be a long time between those days. So what do you do when the light is dull? Do you just wait? Should you just put down the camera?
Dull days can lead to great images, as long as you know where to look and how to work with the conditions rather than against them.
In this article, we’ll look at 4 Ideas for Photographing Dull Days.
Focus on the Details
Being influenced by social media and the images we see across various platforms, it can often be hard to remember that landscape photography is more than capturing the grand landscapes.
Stepping away from the wide-angle lenses and getting more comfortable with a zoom is a great way to expand your creativity and see beyond the grand landscape.
Dull days are a great excuse to forget the big picture and focus on the details. Whether it’s textures in a mountain, patterns in the woods or a field of wet flowers, they all can be great subjects to photograph.
Find a Subject that Stands Out
The clouds still play an important role in an image even when they lack texture. While skies with a lot of texture can be distracting in certain images, flat skies can help emphasize a particular subject.
The image above is an example of this. Since there is no texture in the sky, it makes the tree stand out from the surrounding landscape. A colorful or partly cloudy shot would not work in this scenario as the tree wouldn’t stick out and there would be no clear subject.
Cloudy Days are Perfect for Waterfalls
Overcast and dull days are perfect opportunities to photograph waterfalls.
Sunshine and waterfalls are rarely a good combination as the bright sun creates glare and unwanted reflections on wet surfaces. This tends to be distracting for the image, which is why photographers prefer cloudy and dull days for photographing rivers, streams and waterfalls.
Days with less light also allows you to use a slower shutter speed without using filters, creating a smooth and blurry effect on the water.
Go Black & White
In Black & White Photography: A Complete Guide for Nature Photographers, professional landscape photographer Sarah Marino points out that Black & White Photography is more than just a last resort to save a bad picture.
While you can capture great Black & White images when there’s no contrast in the sky, I prefer having a little texture in order to emphasize the mood and give a slightly more dramatic appearance.
What do YOU do on dull days? Do you use it as an excuse to stay home or do you take advantage of it with your camera?