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Landscape Sin #3: Bald, Cloudless Skies

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LOCATION: GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK, TENNESSEE

Most people find clouds beautiful (I sure do), but when it comes to landscape photography, they’re not just there to be pretty. They are there to hold the amazing colors of a sunrise or sunset, and without clouds, you get...well...pretty much what you see here—a whole lotta nuthin’. Now, picture this same shot with just an amazing sky of really interesting clouds that are red, pink, and purple. Then, look back at this one. See what I mean? So, even though you did the right thing by getting up early for the great light, and you got in place and were ready to shoot before dawn, and you were on a sturdy tripod, with a cable release, and you had a wide-angle lens on your camera, and you were at f/22, and you were at the top of a really cool ridge of mountains, if the clouds don’t show, you won’t look like a pro. Mother Nature is totally in charge of this one, and sometimes she delivers a spectacular cloud formation that makes you look like a star because all you have to do is literally press the shutter button, and sometimes she gives you squat! She’s finicky that way.

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