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on Nov 28, 2011 in Aviation

A Little Insight How I work with Clouds

Clouds can quite often make or break a photograph. When it comes to taking “dead space” and bringing immense drama to that space, clouds are hard to beat. This morning at the AZ CAF wing is a prime example. “Cripes A’Mighty” was pulled out for us to photograph. The skies were pretty good so placing the P-51D Mustang wasn’t a challenge, no bald which gives a photographer lots of possibilities. So the drama was provided, that part of the equation filled in. So with the easy part done, what next? How do you maximize the clouds?

Background is everything in my photography, it sets the stage. But this begs the question, sets the stage for what? The what is an essential question you have to ask yourself because it might be the subject or just part of the subject. The first shot I set up to take had that gorgeous light reflected on side the P-51D. The subject was the P-51D and the what in this view is that reflection. The problem with the background with this “what” is they conflict. The sky has just as many bright elements as the side of the Mustang. I do like the added element of the DC-3 in the background. Yet still, this is my least favorite view of the three.

I love the drama in the positioning of the Mustang in this shot. I’m not so thrilled with the “dull” light on the fuselage. This really conflicts with the drama on the left side of the sky. Worst yet is the blue patched in the clouds on the right side. These three elements visually conflict with the mind’s eye too much for me. While better then the top image, it’s still not strong enough to be put out as a photo I like.

So it’s not hard to figure out that this is my favorite of the three. The question should be, what does is have or not have when compared to the others. It starts with a background, a sky with clouds that is pretty even visually. The ratio of lights and darks and their placement doesn’t compete with itself, it’s just there. Next, the reflection on the side of the Mustang is pretty harmonious with the background. This makes it easy for the mind’s eye to bounce back and forth without any type of visual competition. And what this angle has the other two don’t is the name on the nose of the Mustang. The mind’s eye just loves type and while it’s small here in this thumbnail, in a print is will suck the eye right in. So in a long winded recipe of what’s going on in my mind in such a scenario as this, there you have it.

Photos captured by D3x, 24-70AFS