Chasing clouds: Capturing dreamy clouds

Chasing clouds: Capturing dreamy clouds

Are you a bit of a cloud chaser? Ever since I was a kid I loved looking at and watching clouds. Making shapes and just watching them float or in some cases fly by. On a recent holiday to Kangaroo Island (South Australia), I loved the wide open skies and spent some time one afternoon capturing the clouds.

There was barely any wind so my efforts to capture those lovely drawn-out hazy clouds were not performing quite as I wished.

Remarkable Rocks captured at 1/250 second

Long exposures

I have found the easiest way to capture some dreamy clouds is by doing a long exposure. The above photo was captured mid-afternoon, so it’s too bright to capture a long exposure shot, without a little help from some Neutral Density filters. I used the OKKO ND6 and ND10. I found that the OKKO ND10 gave me better results in this case as I got a 8-second exposure.

I set myself up on a tripod (to avoid any camera shake from long shutter speeds) and spent some time playing with a basic CPL and various ND filters. Even though I did get some softness the clouds were barely moving. This effect works well on a windy day and often as the clouds are moving so fast you don’t even need a long shutter speed.

Achieving the same effect in post-processing

So what do you do when the clouds won’t cooperate? Well, you can always be sneaky and cheat in Photoshop. Granted it’s not quite the same as the real thing, but you can perhaps finally satisfy your inner child. Here’s how I did it in Photoshop.

Creating motion blur in Photoshop