ON1 Inspiration – Gray Skies Can Be Great Skies

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Hi everyone!

It is great to be back for another dose of ON1 Inspiration. The photo I’m sharing with you today comes from a situation I think most landscape photographers are familiar with. I was traveling, and had just a few days to spend in each location I visited. One of my stops was Kushimoto, Japan. I wanted to capture a glorious sunrise over the Hashigui rocks.

Mother Nature had, well, different plans. She served up gray, overcast skies and a fair amount of rain, too. Needless to say, I did not capture the epic sunrise I had envisioned.

On my final day in town, I was handed a light rain. Nevertheless, I went out with the camera. And I’m so glad I did! Although the skies didn’t light up, the rain faded. The endless gray mass of clouds began to break up. Interesting patterns and layers appeared. It was not the scene I’d envisioned, yet it was beautiful in its own way.

Please join me in this ON1 Inspiration video as I use ON1 Photo RAW to create a fine art black & white photo in Develop & Effects. I think the transformation of this photo is quite dramatic. I also think it’s proof that sometimes gray skies can be great skies.


8 comments on “ON1 Inspiration – Gray Skies Can Be Great Skies”

  1. On August 30, 2017 at 10:06 am Arnfinn Nilsen wrote:

    Very inspirational approach to image editing. What I really like about ON1 is the ability to put the effects/settings locally without affecting the rest of the picture. You demonstrate this in various ways. I have a love/hate relationship with local contrast. Too much, and in the wrong places it’s plain ugly. I want my images to look natural, and in the same time be able to enhance the parts I want to draw attention to. I really like the way you work with your image. How you build the effects step by step from start to finish. Very well demonstrated and explained. And I even got a couple of ideas for my own images…

    1. On August 30, 2017 at 10:09 am Scott Davenport replied:

      “And I even got a couple of ideas for my own images…”
      Fantastic, Arnfinn! That is what I set out to do with every video. So glad you enjoyed it – and better yet – can apply it to your imagery.

  2. On August 31, 2017 at 4:53 am marc labro wrote:

    hallo Scott,
    i enjoyed this landscape b&w retouching tuto
    the way you mixed gradient tools is very interesting.

    best regards

  3. On September 13, 2017 at 7:05 pm Timothy Lambert wrote:

    Hi Scott,

    I really enjoy the way to approach your processing. It looks very easy, which gives me (a beginner) the steps to do until I go my way. It is always helpful to get a great start, so others can determine their own process.

    Thanks. Timothy

    1. On September 13, 2017 at 7:22 pm Scott Davenport replied:

      Thanks Timothy. You’re spot on. I’m sharing what I do. The other great photographers here share their techinques. Some will resonate with you and some will not. And that’s OK. Each little thing we learn becomes another experience we can draw upon as we develop our own personal workflows and styles. Have fun!

  4. On May 24, 2018 at 8:53 am Lana Lawrence wrote:

    I’m glad that someone addressed this issue of what many would call “dreary skies,” as I have quite a collection of them in my archives, and in many good B&W images during coastal storms, and in images that I shot during my many years on Capitol Hill in DC doing documentary/event/photojournalism work. Some of my best images include dramatic, angry skies with a host of tonal gradations that we often don’t see in sunnier skies.

    I have told my students at a museum where I headed a digital conversion lab (and used many photo majors from local universities to intern there) that a cloudy sky is often their best friend — that it is a natural softbox that allows for some impressive portraits, and that it can enhance a well-composed and exposed image in ways that sun cannot. It can set the entire mood of the image, and I personally think there’s nothing more fun than going out to shoot a Nor-Easter or other tropical storm at the shore. Seeing the major monuments in DC under cloudy skies with some dramatic flare can give photographers opportunities to do images that sets them apart from the “norm.” There is a well-know photog in the DC region who has made his “brand” by photographing iconic structures in snow, and stormy weather, and his prints sell fast, and at a good price. His work is primarily in B&W, Sepia, and printed on a nice cotton rag paper, and you know it when you see it because it’s that distinct from other photographers. Colin Winterbottom is his name, if anyone is interested in seeing his work. He’s expanded into more using more color, but I recall when he was just starting his career – and it was those gray skies and snowy scenes that landed him in one of the most competitive markets in the country. He’s at colinwinterbottom.com/Artis…y=VKNT9F5T

    1. On May 24, 2018 at 8:57 am Scott Davenport replied:

      Thanks Lana… glad you enjoyed the video. I’m smack in the middle of “May Gray” in San Diego, so a great time for moody skies :-)

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