A Happy Cloudy Day…..What??


I awoke Sunday morning, and to my pleasant surprise the skies were cloudy.  Now, you may say what’s the big deal with that.  Well, I will tell you.  With the overcast skies, the light will be great for photography.  With cloudy skies, you avoid harsh shadows or bright hot spots that you get on bright sunny days.  Having said that, most of my photography is done on those bright sunny days.  Here in west Texas, if I had to wait for those cloudy days, my cameras would lay collecting dust.  Like the song says, “…and the skies are not cloudy all day……”

The reason for my happiness.  I had decided that since I haven’t been feeling too well, I would just go sit in the blind at San Angelo State Park for an hour or two.  Now that blind; the way it is situated, has terrible light in the morning sun.  Trees break up the light into either bright sun or dark shadows.  Not many areas of open shade.  To get any photos of birds, they usually are bright on one side and dark on the other.  In other words, it is difficult to get a nice photo with well-balanced light.

But even away from the blind, I would prefer cloudy days over sunny days.  Nice even light on all subjects and saturated color.  Now I am speaking as a bird photographer.  I am not looking for nice blue skies, as that is not a necessity for bird photos.  For landscapes and scenics, well that is a different subject altogether.

All of the photos that you see here in this post were photographed on that cloudy Sunday morning.

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Yellow Warbler

This Yellow Warbler surprised us when it made an appearance in a nearby tree.  It is migrating from the south of Mexico and heading for it’s summer residence in middle United States.

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Northern Bobwhite

This Northern Bobwhite just wandered in from some nearby brush area.  Notice no harsh light from the rocky background.

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Northern Cardinal

Normally it would be difficult to get nice even light on this Northern Cardinal.  The reds really glare in open bright sunshine.

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Mourning Dove

For some reason or other, I usually pass up photos of doves as they are so plentiful, but the overcast light brought out the nice colors.

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House Sparrow

The same goes for this bird.  I have never seen a House Sparrow look so beautiful.

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Curve-billed Thrasher

I love this mean-looking bird.  There’s a new sheriff in town

These photos were all shot at an ISO of 1600.  Shutter speed was about 1/1000 sec. with the aperture wide open.  Canon 7D Mk II with a Tamron 150-600mm Gen 2 zoom lens.  Cropping and post editing with Photoshop CS5.

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15 thoughts on “A Happy Cloudy Day…..What??

  1. I have heard that cloudy days bring out the vibrance in colours and find that to be true. I also find the Male House Sparrow is handsome in his breeding plumage. i have also appreciated them more when I watched the male share in the nesting and feeding duties of the young. All great captures, Bob.

    • No exactly what you mean here: it’s a lot more work to get a decent shot when you’re worrying about glare and shadow, other than the brief window of golden light during dawn and dusk. Overcast days often mean you have to push the ISO a little more but as long as it’s not apologetically dark, most modern cameras can cope very well with this push. Great set of photos – the curve-billed is my favourite.

      • Thank you for the great comment, badger. I agree with everything you said. I kinda like that Curve-billed Thrasher, too. He sure looks mean, however as you probably know, his call belies that. 🙂

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