I do enjoy living in Southern California. I really do. The beautiful blue sky was one of the many delights as a result of our move from the Midwest where the presence of a sunny day might be measured in terms of minutes per day.
It is just that when someone suggests that there should be a more ominous appearance to my photographs for my project Gardening For Ordnance, such as including a moody sky, can be a tough situation to find here in Souther California. We just have toooo many beautiful blue sky days. Sad, eh? (okay, not really)
Granted we do get some really gray overcast days in the early spring, but that does not provide very much visual character for me. What I think as moody are the big stormy, cloudy days. And yes, we do get those, but regretfully very rarely and these storm clouds occur in late fall into winter; November thru March. Not very convenient in early October when I want to re-make some of my earlier photographs with this as a background. And it does not help that one of my subjects, like the towering Pampas Grass I photographed in 2013, has since been totally destroyed. Gone.
I know that there are those who have no issues with a little bit of PhotoShop slight-of-hand to include some clouds into the background. Since this project leans into photo-documentary, I don’t think of that as an option for me for this photograph, even if I think of this project as an artist project. What I do find as an acceptable option is to tweak the tonal values, in the case of the photograph above, to increase the contrast and deepen the darker values, that perhaps creates more of an ominous image.
Meanwhile, I am composing my short list of subjects that when the stormy clouds do appear in a few months of what to go and photograph. And of course in the meantime I will continue to enjoy our blue sky.
Featured photograph, above: Pampas Grass (Gardening For Ordnance) copyright 2013 Douglas Stockdale