On a Dull Day..

When you’re cooped up inside looking at a wall to wall dull grey day, the last thing you want to hear from somebody whilst feeling sorry for yourself is that there is always a photograph to be had, regardless of the conditions.  As landscape photographers we thrive on dramatic light and flat grey skies just do not provide the light we crave however, there is always a photograph to be found and on dull days, long exposures are always an option.

I mentioned before that there is a good reason why the Azores are so green.  Moist warm air from the southern United States finds landfall in the Azores and has a tendency to condense over the mountains. Remember the water cycle from high school geography?  The Azores provide a classic case in point.

All that said, the weather wasn’t perfect during my two-week stay on the island of São Miguel but we only had one, really dull day and armed with a Lee big stopper, I headed for the beach.  The beach at Mosteiros was strewn with lava and rocks that would have been thrown up by the Sete Cidades volcano not so very far away. I loved the colours and textures of the different types of rocks found here and after finding my spot on the beach with a composition I was happy with, this is the photograph that I managed to get..

Rock Stacks at Mosteiros by Adrian Theze24mm f/22 90 sec. ISO-100

SpacerWhen creating pictures like this one, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re facing into the wind.  I picked this spot on the island as I knew here, I would be facing directly into the north-westerly wind that was blowing and I would be able to capture the nice streaked cloud effect you see here.  Despite having a Lee Big Stopper filter, I still had to close down the aperture to f/22 to extend the exposure as much as I could.

SpacerAdrian Theze Photo logo_2Spacer

68 responses

  1. This is amazingly beautiful. You have used the light really well

    May 8, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    • Thank you very much Rajiv. I’m glad you enjoyed the picture. :-)

      May 8, 2016 at 5:15 pm

  2. What a beauty!

    May 8, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    • Thank you Jude! :-)

      May 8, 2016 at 5:15 pm

  3. Sue

    Beautifully crafted, Adrian – and thanks for the tip about facing into the wind to get the streaked cloud effect!

    May 8, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    • A pleasure Sue and thank you! :-)

      May 8, 2016 at 5:53 pm

  4. Fantastic light, wonderful capture.

    May 8, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    • Thank you Tommy! Much appreciated! :-)

      May 8, 2016 at 6:39 pm

  5. Along with knowledge you have the desire for the best shots and sometimes it takes patience. Excellent shot paired with your narrative.

    May 8, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    • Thank you very much. I really appreciate your comment! :-)

      May 8, 2016 at 6:39 pm

  6. The picture is pure magic.

    May 8, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    • Thank you so much! :-)

      May 8, 2016 at 8:10 pm

  7. Stunning image, Adrian. The rocks are amazing and I love those streaky clouds. :)

    May 8, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    • Thank you Sylvia! :-)

      May 8, 2016 at 8:57 pm

  8. Wow Adrian…this is stunning!

    May 8, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    • Thank you Edith! :-)

      May 9, 2016 at 6:32 am

  9. Love how it seems like the light is streaming out from behind the rock :-) Good tip about wind direction! I will try to keep that one in mind.

    May 8, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    • Thank you very much Sarah! It took me a long while to make the connection concerning the direction of the wind, sometimes it’s the simplest of things we overlook. :-)

      May 9, 2016 at 6:36 am

      • That’s so true Adrian! I wouldn’t have thought of it without having done an awful lot of long exposures myself. It seems so very obvious once pointed out!

        May 9, 2016 at 4:10 pm

      • :-)

        May 10, 2016 at 6:34 am

  10. It is beautiful, I think overcast grey days are the best for photography, especially long exposures,

    May 9, 2016 at 1:19 am

    • Thank you Leanne. Overcast days are definitely best for long exposures and for all sorts of other types of photography but for landscapes, I find that sunshine breaking through brooding cloud highlighting my subject or creating shafts of light through a misty morning a bit more interesting to work with. Sunshine and showers are my favourite.
      These pictures you can take straight from the camera, the natural drama is all there, you don’t have to work to create something in Photoshop that just isn’t there with a flat grey and dull landscape. But, what you say just adds to the argument that there really is no such thing as a bad day for photography, just a bad day if you had a certain outcome in your mind and the conditions didn’t conspire to give you the picture you’d hoped for.

      May 9, 2016 at 7:01 am

  11. Even a bad day is a good day for a photographer like you Adrian! Lovely capture.

    May 9, 2016 at 3:49 am

    • Thank you so much Tina. :-)

      May 9, 2016 at 7:04 am

  12. Great composition and post-processing, Adrian.

    May 9, 2016 at 5:15 am

    • Thank you very much Jane! :-)

      May 9, 2016 at 7:04 am

  13. How very clever of you to make lemonade when presented with lemons! ;)

    May 9, 2016 at 5:43 am

    • Thank you so much Gunta! :-)

      May 9, 2016 at 9:49 am

  14. I find dull days not uninteresting for photography, yet I have never played around with such long exposures. This comes very handy as a tutorial, especially concerning the wind, thank you, Adrian. :-) The lava stones make a beautiful setting and your composition is perfect. You have a good feeling and a sharp eye for the right position, I’m so much looking forward to exploring Norfolk with a refreshed look now. :D
    Best regards from Norway, Dina

    May 9, 2016 at 6:27 am

    • Thank you Dina. As I said to Leanne, there’s no such thing as a bad day for photography, just a bad day if you have a certain outcome in your mind and the conditions do not conspire to give you the photograph you have in your mind. I like dynamic weather, sunshine and showers, lots of light play on the landscape and so a flat dull grey day doesn’t produce the photos I like to take. Neither does a bright sunny day with clear blue skies come to think of it, they’re picture postcard days. I guess it’s all down to your particular style of photography as to the conditions you like to photograph in. I too am very much looking forward to exploring Norfolk! Enjoy Norway! :-)

      May 9, 2016 at 9:54 am

  15. This is such a wonderful image! Thank you very much for tips too. :)

    May 9, 2016 at 10:30 am

    • Thank you so much Sóla and you’re very welcome! :-)

      May 9, 2016 at 11:36 am

  16. Peaceful to look to it.

    May 9, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    • Thank you Lou! :-)

      May 10, 2016 at 6:34 am

  17. Beautiful capture.

    May 9, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    • Thank you very much Mary! :-)

      May 10, 2016 at 6:34 am

  18. One word will suffice: YOWZA. :-)

    May 10, 2016 at 2:31 am

    • Thank you Frank! :-)

      May 10, 2016 at 6:34 am

  19. perfect image!

    May 10, 2016 at 4:25 am

    • Thank you very much Amelia! :-)

      May 10, 2016 at 6:35 am

  20. Well worth the effort to get that shot Adrian. Faced with bad weather we have to do a bit of lateral thinking sometimes. There’s a famous quote that says: ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing’. Substitute clothing with photography and it makes an interesting but relevant quote. The biggest bar to taking images in bad weather is actually motivating ourselves to get out the door. An image like this is evidence of how worthwhile that effort can be.

    May 11, 2016 at 7:35 am

    • Thank you Andy I think you’re right. When you look out the window on a flat and very grey day, and we’ve been having rather too many of those the last few years in Cornwall with grey cold winters followed by grey wet summers, it is difficult to find the inspiration to go and look for a photograph but when we do, there’s often one to be found.

      May 12, 2016 at 5:46 am

  21. I agree, there is nothing so discouraging than hearing that is always a photo to be found even in worst of conditions. But then you prove it yourself, right here that is’s true. You have created a gorgeous photo out of something most people would not even have considered, myself included.

    May 11, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    • Thank you very much Otto! I think if I’d have been at home and looked out of the window, I probably wouldn’t of gone out but when one is away, we like to make the most of everyday so I had just that extra little bit of impetus to get out there and find something to photograph. :-)

      May 12, 2016 at 5:48 am

  22. This is a beautiful image, full of muted, somber tones that perfectly captures what can be achieved on a dull day

    May 12, 2016 at 6:53 am

    • Thank you very much Mark. As Andy said, there is always an image out there but when it’s grey and dull, working up the motivation to get out there can be very hard indeed but when one is on holiday, well, you’ve got to make the most of every day haven’t you? :-)

      May 12, 2016 at 10:15 am

      • I couldn’t agree more Adrian

        May 12, 2016 at 6:37 pm

      • :-)

        May 12, 2016 at 7:14 pm

  23. Black Lightness

    Great photo…during watching this photo I got impression that some of the rock are blue…not grey…that impress me…I liek to watch yours photos becouse from them I can learn how to makes photos of landscapes…

    May 13, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    • Thank you very much! I’m glad you are finding my photogrpahs useful in learning photography. I spend a lot of time looking at the photographs of other photographers. It is a good way to learn! :-)

      May 13, 2016 at 7:57 pm

      • Black Lightness

        Yes, I agree. We can lots learning from each other…

        May 14, 2016 at 1:24 pm

      • :-)

        May 25, 2016 at 3:01 pm

  24. May have been a dull day, but this image is anything but.

    May 13, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    • Thank you Elena, that’s very kind!

      May 25, 2016 at 3:02 pm

  25. Magical shot Adrian, and also such great advice as facing into the wind. There is a surreal feel with the low perspective and move sky…a fascinating shot.

    May 14, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    • Thank you very much Randall. This one was a bit of an experiment but not wanting to waste a day of photography due to the overcast skies, I tried to think beyond the obvious. :-)

      May 25, 2016 at 3:01 pm

  26. Truly beautiful, I *love* the tone and composition and everything! :) Great work, Adrian.

    May 15, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    • Thank you Camilla! Sorry for the late reply to your comment. Now just catching up. :-)

      May 25, 2016 at 2:59 pm

  27. Mmm, Adrian, this one is mystical. I can see what you mean by the variety in the rocks, too. The overall look here is a tight knitting together of the distant sky, the not so distant stacks and nearby rocks, which makes you feel like you’re in it – and happy to be there!

    May 16, 2016 at 12:51 am

    • Thank you Lynn! Such a lovely comment very much appreciated! :-)

      May 25, 2016 at 3:02 pm

  28. Very poetic picture…

    May 24, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    • Thank you very much! :-)

      May 25, 2016 at 3:02 pm

  29. Good for you the weather was not so bad.

    May 26, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    • It was Lou! Thank you. :-)

      May 26, 2016 at 5:10 pm

  30. Certainly beats sitting in the house all day….

    Nicely done, Adrian…I’m not surprised that you came away with something so beautiful. :)

    May 29, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    • Thank you Scott! There’s always something to be found if one looks for it! :-)

      May 29, 2016 at 7:49 pm

  31. Fabulous picture Adrian and well worth the effort.
    It’s funny – I love the way the landscape changes with changing light but somehow I just don’t get the same inspiration that I do on a dull day! …. and you’re right – there’s no such thing as bad day for photography, just a bad state of mind :)

    May 31, 2016 at 8:21 am

    • Thank you Noeline. I’m with you, I love the play of light on the land and that’s really what photography is all about to me. My heart sinks when I fix up to go off and take photographs and I’m met with those flat grey overcast skies. Being in the Azores and not wanting to waste a day however forced my hand and taught me a valuable lesson. Whether I’ll still be motivated to go out on overcast days back in the UK, well that remains to be seen! :-)

      June 3, 2016 at 6:12 am