Big Skies

Our skies are filled with colour and drama for most of the year, cloud cover, rays of sunshine, sunsets and sunrises all provide us with dramatic landscapes perfect for capturing with the camera. However its often difficult to expose the images correctly and get all the data within the Histogram, therefore you often end up with either over exposed skies or underexposed foregrounds.

This is best achieved by taking a Double Exposure and then blending both images together using Photoshop. There are a couple of methods of taking the images you need.

A tripod is essential as the two images must match pixel for pixel, so any movement of the camera between shots will mean they can’t be blended together. With the camera all set up and the composition as you want it, select Aperture Priority and choose the Depth of Field required. Set the ISO speed as low as your camera will allow and also use Automatic White Balance.

Make sure the focal point is set, for a large landscape this is often a third up within the frame, and then set it to Manual Focus. This then means that the focal point wont change between images.

Here is where you have two options, you can select bracketing where the camera will take 3 images and you can select the span of exposures, or you can use manual Exposure Compensation. What you will most likely need to do is take an underexposed image to capture the detail in the sky and a slightly over exposed image to capture the foreground. What is essential is that you look at the histogram to check you have correctly exposed the sky and foreground in each image.

To then blend the images, you can read our blog post on the techniques using Photoshop here: https://yorkshire-photography-workshops.blog/2015/02/04/exposure-blending-in-photoshop/

Here are a few examples of big sky images taken around Yorkshire & Scotland.

Open moorland at the Ribblehead Viaduct and the Three Peaks. North Yorkshire Dales

Dramatic Sky and Dry Stone Wall, Ribblesdale, Three Peaks, North Yorkshire Dales National Park
Dramatic Sky and Dry Stone Wall, Ribblesdale, Three Peaks, North Yorkshire Dales National Park
Pen-Y-Ghent and the North Yorkshire Dales Countryside, Three Pea
Pen-Y-Ghent and the North Yorkshire Dales Countryside, Three Peaks
View out to the Irish Sea from the Welsh West Coast, Barmouth Bay, Wales
View out to the Irish Sea from the Welsh West Coast, Barmouth Bay, Wales
Carrick Shore at Sunset, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland
Carrick Shore at Sunset, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

Sunset at Carrick Shore, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

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