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Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2004 7:40 am

Cloudy Conditions

Fri Dec 09, 2005 4:30 pm

I've had many a photographer ask me what setting I have my 300D on when you've got the general overcast cloud which seems to occur most days at LHR, but never seem to know what to tell them. It seems I'm always changing setting just to try and get a better photo. What sort of settings do you suggest for this kind of weather? I know its hard to tell as light levels seem to change constantly when you're in the field, but there must be some sort of setting which you use the most?

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RE: Cloudy Conditions

Fri Dec 09, 2005 4:42 pm


There is no magic formula. I try to keep the aperture around f8 or so, while ensuring that the shutter speed does not get too slow. For airliners on approach I generally use aperture priority, but for fast-moving aircraft at airshows I use shutter priority for better control of the shutter speed. I am lucky to have a VR stabilised zoom lens, which is useful in low-light conditions because I can use shutter speeds two or three stops slower than with a non-stabilised lens.

I try not not to use an ISO of higher than 100, to avoid grain in the shots.

When shooting light-coloured aircraft against a background of dark clouds, the camera will tend to meter for the clouds, meaning that the aircraft will be a bit over-exposed. I use exposure compensation of up to 1 stop to compensate for that - i.e. up to one stop less than the camera is telling me. Conversely, for dark aircraft aganst a light background I would over-expose by up to one stop.

Finally, I set the White Balance to "Cloudy".

Hope this makes some sense - and sorry I could not give a more definitive answer.
Nikon D700, Nikkor 80-400, Fuji X Pro 1, Fujinon 35 f/1.4, Fujinon 18 f/2
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RE: Cloudy Conditions

Fri Dec 09, 2005 6:29 pm

Shoot RAW. I'll come to why later.

Leave exposure compensation at neutral. Although ISO100 is well and good it can be impossible to get an adequately fast shutter speed. The 300D's performance at 200 is quite alright for anet's standards.

A 'cloudy' white balance can to tint the pictures with a reddish/brown hue, which can look unattractive, so it's easier to leave it to auto and then adjust it with your raw editor if necessary. You can get some dramatic effects in dull weather if you're lucky, although I'm inclined to give up if it's cloudy.

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Photo © James Trimbee



[Edited 2005-12-09 10:33:01]
It takes a big man to admit they are wrong, and I am not a big man.
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RE: Cloudy Conditions

Fri Dec 09, 2005 8:40 pm

Love the Mytravel shot, James. Unusual to see dark under bright cloud. Good catch.....
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RE: Cloudy Conditions

Sat Dec 10, 2005 6:39 am


I'd love to shoot with RAW, but I have absolutly no idea on the post-processing...?

Thanks for the ideas Viv.


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