Watching the Skies


Well it is the rainy season in Korea and the weather can be a bit “hit or miss” However, with the rain means dramatic skies and that is something that you must look for. I will further explain a bit of what to look for and maybe actually some of the information from that climatology course that I took in University.

Storms mean no shooting?

Not at all. Most dramatic skies occur before or after a rainstorm. So the best thing that you can do is to watch the skies and see how the storm is breaking up. It is a bit of a gamble as some shots don’t always pay off as much as I had hope. However, the theory is sound.


The best thing to do is stake out your location and watch the skies. Typically, if there is a huge storm or solid rain the night before, you might get a great sunrise, but that also means getting up really early. It is tough to judge how the day will end in Korea during the rainy season as the rain seems to continue without pause for weeks.

The best thing to do is take the opportunity if the skies start to break and just go for it. I usually have a few “go-to” locations in mind if time is short but most of the time I want to find a place that I haven’t been to or not for a long time. A dramatic sky can really change the look of a location.


When to Shoot

Sometimes it is tough to judge when the best time to shoot is. However, you have to think about what shows the elements the best. However, I find that just before sunset to early blue hour is the best. You may want to arrive earlier than normal to a location if you want to catch more of the sun, but usually as it starts to set, you will see more colour emerge and that will add to your shot.

If you are a fan of my work, you know that I love the blue hour. In this case, I would say that it shouldn’t be your primary focus. It is always good to get a few shots during this time, but for me the action is right at sunset when the sun itself is fighting to push through the clouds.

What to Shoot

You want to find locations that show off the sky because after all, that will be the main focus of your photo, right? So with that in might think of locations that show off the sky. Get up on a building, go to the ocean, or head out to the mountains. I usually prefer getting up high above the city as I find that it balances the frame. Instead of just having one interesting part capped with something that your eye will just skip over, you have a full frame for your eye to enjoy.


How to Shoot

I am not going to give you the exact settings here. That is something that you have to figure out on your own. However, what I want you to think about in terms of “how” is more towards “how to set up and position the shots” and not just “set it and forget it”

So, what you want to ask yourself is “what is really the main point of this shot?” Some photographer like to ask “what is this shot trying to say?” but I prefer to have a point. Your “message” might not always be so clear but if the main point of your shots is a kick ass sky and you nail it, everyone one is going to look at your shot and say “hey, that is a kick ass sky!” or something like that.

Also note that just because there is a kick ass sky, doesn’t mean you have to make that your main point. Maybe the reflections on the buildings or the glow on the street are what you want to show and the kick ass sky will give the glow some context. It is up to your but what I want you to think about are the elements that make up the shot.

Where to Shoot

For me, I like to get up to a high vantage point and shoot the city. For me, that gives such a great perspective. However, failing that, water is great as the reflections are always impressive.

What I want you to think about here is that you want to find a location that shows off that kick ass sky. the is your main point here. Where can you get to that can really show the sky in all of its glory? You want to find locations that really have an impact on the shot. Something people don’t normally see, that is what you want to find.


Final Word

Finally, you just need a bit of luck and preparation to get great sky shots. Sometimes I can look out and and know that there is going to be a great evening sky and other times I get out to a location and for some reason the sky just fades into nothing. The main point is just to get out and see what happens.



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