When it's overcast here on the Oregon coast, I find myself drawn to photographing piles of fishing nets and buoys. Why not shoot them in bright sunlight? Because then there are way too many dark nooks and crannies, way too much light reflecting off the plastic buoys, and the colors appear washed out.
On overcast days, there are still darkish nooks and crannies, but there's enough light that we still see some details and (quite importantly) some colors back in there. And there are no ugly hot spots on the buoys, enabling the colors to look rich and saturated.
For this "VisuaLeigh" blog, I try to take a photograph and then step back about 15 or 20 paces so you can see what I saw, how I saw it, what caught my eye, and how I framed it.
Here you see stacks of fishing nets (are they not cool, or what?). My job is to figure out what catches my eye and then how to frame it so that what attracted me is all you see.
I had a lot of photo possibilities with these nets, but I particularly liked how the buoys stood out, big round orange circles against a colorful and cluttered background. I moved in closely, selected three I thought looked particularly good, and shot.
(A side note: We use contrast in our photos to create interest, to create a focal point, to create depth. Contrast isn't just about light and shadow. Contrast can be about sharp focus against soft focus, one color isolated in a swath of another color, something circular against a background of linear elements. In this case, it's clean orange color against chaotic colors. Smoothness against texture. Roundness against long skinny lines.)
I used a 24-85mm Canon lens on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera body, ISO 100, 1/200 second at f/7.1. I was probably also using a polarizing filter because, even though the light was overcast, there still might be some reflections off the buoys, and a polarizer will help eliminate them, allowing even more color to come through.
So there you have it. An overcast morning on the Oregon coast -- perfect for photographing nautical paraphernalia such as this.