On a clear blue day people say “what a beautiful day!” I always want to ask them what’s beautiful about it? I prefer a sky full of stuff: big black clouds, violent lightening, howling wind and a downpour of Biblical proportions. That to me is beautiful. That’s nature and its very exciting.
The South is a nature artist’s paradise regardless of your capture medium. The skies change constantly and outside of March and April, there’s rarely a dreaded bluebird day. I say dreaded because to the painter and photographer in me, there’s nothing more boring than an empty blue sky. Nothing.
The main uses an empty sky has for me, aside from the great light that comes with early and late light, is 1) the large blocks of pure color can be used in the structure of a composition; 2) you can capture striking silhouettes against color gradations during sunrise and sunset; and 3) using unbalanced strong early or late night as a light source will alter the local color of an object, presenting it in a way that can’t happen during the day under balanced light.
A stormy day puts on display the grandeur of nature’s rage. It can be frightening as well as inspirational, and it can be physically dangerous to us mere mortals. When I walk out into a stormy day the rain kisses me, the darkness stirs the forgotten parts of my soul, the wind massages my whole body and the crashing lightening reminds me how insignificant I really am in this great big world. These things all rolled into one big furious sky make this photographer a very happy and thrilled visual artist.
That which I prefer in a sky can speak. I’m attuned to the voices of wisdom carried on the wings of nature and I usually don’t miss the message. But in order to hear these voices and read these messages and learn this wisdom we must first see it and to do that we have to look. Look into a blank sky and that’s exactly what you get back.
Most of the arts pay homage to the clouds. Music, literature and the visual arts are all used by some of the world’s most creative minds to capture the voice of the skies, shape it with their magic and present it to the world in breathtaking works of art.
The next time someone tells me how beautiful a bluebird day is I think I’ll share with them why I think a crashing storm is beautiful. Maybe the most beautiful thing of all about the sky and weather is that it easily brings strangers together.
Text and photo copyright Gloria Hopkins 2019, All Rights Reserved