Beach huts are wonderfully photogenic and you can get great pictures of them almost regardless of the lighting conditions. However, beach huts get elevated to iconic status when the scene is complemented by a photogenic sky.
1. Gear Suggestions
A wide-angle will help you make the most of big skies, but even the short end of your standard zoom should be fine. Obviously the wider your lens the more sky that you can include. However, there is the danger of going too wide and including fantastic sky detail as well as more mundane bits, so do frame carefully. A selection of filters can come in very handy so do pack some graduates as well as the polariser.
Lovely skies can occur at any time of year and at any time of day so you just have to be aware of the conditions and keep an eye on what’s happening. With heavy showers followed by brief spells of intense sunlight, there is every chance of dramatic skies, not to mention things like rainbows.
Periodically check what’s happening in the heavens as the day progresses and in the end, you might end up with a good set of images, all taken from the same spot but looking very different as the sky is constantly changing.
Exposure can be tricky because of the wide contrast range between the sky and the beach huts, so you need to think about metering to ensure the optimum result. In some cases, you might even find the foreground to be brighter than the sky, say when there is a doom-laden dark sky behind the sunlit huts.
With this sort of shot, the most important of the scene is the highlight detail (usually the sky) so meter off that and let the shadows worry about themselves. If the foreground then looks too gloomy use exposure compensation to help and reshoot.
If the light is changing quickly, and this can happen in stormy conditions, bracket exposures to make sure you get a result you are happy with. If you find the sky is still coming out too light, fit a graduate filter.
A polariser can intensity a colourful or a stormy sky depending on the direction of the light so that too can work. A polariser can enhance a sky to make it work even better for a black & white conversion. However, you might prefer the natural approach and that is perfectly fine.
In terms of composition, being bold can help. Some people might want to compose using the rule-of-thirds, but this can actually look rather static. Lining up the huts along the very bottom of the frame can work better and give even more prominence to the sky. Just explore the options when you are framing up the shot.
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