Friday, August 18, 2017

Mark Bowie's Night Landscape Workshop — Cloudy Skies, Beautiful Imagery

I’m continually amazed how various weather conditions can produce great night images.  Skies were mostly overcast each night of my Adirondack night landscape workshop this year.  The Milky Way made an appearance late one night, and a couple tireless students photographed it from about 3-4am.  The following night, we were photographing clouds over Fourth Lake, when one of my images (below) surprised me by registering the Big Dipper above the clouds.  We immediately went to a nearby lake, a darker setting with more open views, hoping to catch the Milky Way, but it was soon overrun by more clouds.

Though we had persistent cloud cover all four nights, we made some incredible images of the clouds reflected in area waters.  In the image below, the lights of local villages color the clouds, their arc reflected in a lake.  I framed some pickerelweed in the foreground, lit by a student's red headlamp.  The various elements of the scene came together amazingly well.  But here’s the most important thing I took away from this: you don’t get these conditions under clear skies.  It’s the clouds that really make the scene.  Next time, maybe I’ll better see the potential of overcast conditions, while still lamenting not seeing the Milky Way!

To me, night photography is an endless pursuit of heavenly beauty.  During each of my workshops, I take students out for some night shooting.  If you'd like to join me to explore the art of creating phenomenal images by the light of midnight, please see the API website and for upcoming events.