Photography: Skyscapes


by Ron Toel

Other Articles by Ron Toel:

Choosing the Right CameraPhotography of Wildlife’s Large Top TenLandscapes with AnimalsAbstract PhotographyClose-up PhotographyNatural FramesNature / Wildlife PhotographyNature / Wildlife PhotographyWildlife Photography from VehiclesTaking Photos at ZoosDesert PhotographyPhotography at Game FarmsGrassland PhotographMountain PhotographyWetland PhotographyWoodland PhotographyThe Beauty of Snow and IceGeothermal PhotographyStalking Your TargetsNature’s CalendarThe Color of LightTwilight PhotographyEtiquetteIdeas to Enhance Watching WildlifeReasons for Attending a WorkshopKeeping Your Awareness

Unrelated to Photography: AlligatorsElephant SealsRuby-throated HummingbirdsWood Storks

Ron Toel - Nature Photographer


Skyscapes The area above the horizon is often ignored for what is being photographed on the ground in front of the camera or is drawn into the image to balance the composition of the ground.  However, the heavens enter into being a world of their own with a constant change of clouds that are often spectacular  ( due to air currents) even while one watches them.  As with terrestrial landscapes, an image of the sky alone vary with interest.  One can get a dull gray sky with no clouds or with clouds so close it is one set above a fog….. this would be BORING.  Then there are times when one needs to forget the routine landscape and point the camera toward the heavens and get those spectacular skyscapes.


A skyscape means one places the horizon at the very bottom of the image…..this helps to ground the viewer and put the sky in context by showing that the sky dominates a vast space in the an open area.

Skyscapes are one of the things one cannot plan for. They just happen and one must react  because one can not predict how or when they will appear. 

Early and late times of the day when clouds are present…..the clouds will do their color change as the sun rises or sets behind the horizon. Clouds make a useful subject for abstracts in conveying ones inner soul through a personal vision.

Thunder storms is another time when one cannot predict what will happen…Lightning bolting across the clouds; a rainbow appearance; or just a break in the clouds in which the sun comes through.

What Camera and Accessories I Use:

 I usually work with a 24-80 mm zoom for in camera cropping larger skyscapes or an 80-200 mm zoom for specific cloud images.  I try to use a polarizing filter as it darkens the sky and enhances the color saturation. 

Skyscapes is also a time when one can use graduated filters to darken part of the image.


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