CLOUDY CAN BE BETTER THAN SUNNY FOR WILDLIFE PHOTOS
To get really bright colours, you need bright sunlight…right? Wrong. Or at least not necessarily. Bright sunlight can actually rob your photos of the rich colours we all hope for. When the sun is high and bright, it creates very ‘contrasty’ conditions, where sunlit areas are likely to be overexposed, and shadows very dark. The sun shining on glossy surfaces like the skin of a frog or the feathers of many birds, can create glare and reflection that overwhelms almost any chance of a colourful image.
Like landscapes, your best chance of getting good colour in your wildlife photos on a sunny day, is to take them early in the morning or late in the afternoon. When the sun is low in the sky, contrast is lower and glare is reduced. However there is an easier way to get rich colours in your wildlife photos and you can do it at any time of day.
Take your photos on a cloudy day.
When the sky is overcast, you have no problems with direct sunlight and hard shadows. Glare is virtually eliminated.
It goes against our natural instinct. Many people would think that if the light is dull, you would not get rich colours. The truth is, your wildlife photos taken on a cloudy day are often more colourful than photos taken in sunlight.
You can also shoot your wildlife in awkard positions that would never work on a sunny day. A bird in a tree usually be covered in a patchwork of light and shadow from the surrounding twigs and foliage. On a cloudy you have none of that problem…the light will be even no matter where you find your subject.
The only limitation on this idea is that when it is too cloudy and dark, you will struggle to get fast enough shutter speeds for sharp photos. So overcast is great, but bright overcast is what you really want to keep your shutter speeds up.