View Full Version : When The Sun Doesn't Shine

2nd November 2008, 07:25 PM
I'm sure you all know the feeling: Amongst a week of fantastic weather, for one reason or another you have just one day set aside for serious photography - and that's the day that the sun doesn't shine. No good for landscapes then, or is it?

I'm a great believer that there is is always a subject to be found that matches the conditions, if you look hard enough. This situation happened to me last week on holiday in East Yorkshire. The day that my friend David and I were let off the leash was grey and overcast with very little sun, however we visited two locations on the coast that we felt might photograph favourably in those conditions and here are the best that I got from the day.

Any comments, critisism or suggestions on how to improve when faced with similar conditions in future will be most appreciated.


First stop was Stone Creek on the Humber Estuary. I used a 2 stop ND grad filter to retain some of the feeling of menace in the sky while allowing enough light for the mud-bound boats along the creek in the foreground.


We then moved on to Spurn Point to photograph these old sea defenses as they became engulfed by the incoming tide. I couldn't use a grad filter in this situation because of the artificial darkening of the posts that it would cause. Instead I bracketed exposures, relying on the fairly substantial adjustments that can be made to RAW files in Photoshop. I used a slow shutter speed, with the camera mounted on a tripod, to record some movement in the surf as it raced up the beach and swirled around the base of the posts.


As the tide advanced I got wet feet (not for the last time that week - see my "Thank Goodness it was an E3" thread on FTU) and I had to resort to hand holding the camera as my tripod was shifting position along with the sand with every new wave that broke around me.

All things considered, I had a great day and despite the uninspiring conditions got a few pictures that I'm reasonably pleased with. But what do you think?

2nd November 2008, 09:46 PM
Dear John,

You have done really well in my opinion, the penny is slowly dropping with me that overcast and "poor" light can be a recipe for some great images. I especially like the second and third images, the colour is really striking against the grey background, my sort of photos.


Chris *chr

2nd November 2008, 09:51 PM
Yes, splendid images despite the weather. I like image 2 the best :-)


3rd November 2008, 07:56 AM
Hi John -

I like your work here - number two is outstanding.

More to come I hope.

Regards. Barr1e

3rd November 2008, 08:40 AM
Really good images, but No 2 is cracking - I've just done a contrasty B&W version of it and it looks fit for hanging on the wall! :D

3rd November 2008, 10:08 AM
The third one does it for me - drama and unusual colours (except for the North sea lol). Well done.

3rd November 2008, 03:01 PM
I think they're very good, more especially because of the overcast skies.

I like the view shown in the first one, with the sharp, clear detail in the foreground but on balance think I prefer the last one although I wonder if it would have been better landscape - with the line of posts leading off into nothingness.

3rd November 2008, 03:19 PM
Hi I love these images, the brightness of the colours against the stormy clouds and sea give it great contrast. My Favorite is no 2 although I love the way the waves are breaking in no3

3rd November 2008, 05:02 PM
I also like the second best. The color. water movement and the sight line of the posts all work.

3rd November 2008, 08:13 PM
John, excellent shots.....no.2 for me also.


4th November 2008, 12:02 AM
Thanks for all your comments. The concensus seems to be in favour of number 2 and I must admit it is my favourite of the three.

Thanks for your suggestion of B&W DekHog, I'll give that a try myself!


Malcolm Cousins
4th November 2008, 11:27 PM
Second and third shots excellent. You have captured the feel of the day.

5th November 2008, 09:45 PM
Hi John,
I also love no 2, I would put that on my wall. I think you have really captured the power and movement of the water and the colours are vivid and dramatic. Having said that I also like number one, a real sense of place foreboding.

5th July 2009, 03:59 AM
Lovely shots John. I know this area very well and haven't quite achieved your standard on my efforts!

16th July 2009, 11:38 PM
Nice shots John, No2 for me.

Best regards Paul