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Photographing Beautiful Skies:
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This reflection of the sky offers a unique point of view.
Reader photo by Carolyn Wiens, Cleveland, OH

Don’t put your camera away as soon as the sun goes down. Sometimes the most colorful time occurs at twilight, just minutes after the sun has set. This fleeting time between daylight and total darkness is known as the “Magic Hour” by many photographers.

Stormy skies can provide a lot of drama in your pictures, but capturing them on film or memory card can be challenging. The most striking photo opportunities usually occur as the storm approaches or leaves. Sunlight breaking through dark clouds or creating bright rim lighting around the clouds’ edges is especially beautiful, if you’re fortunate enough to encounter this.

When photographing a colorful sunrise or sunset, it’s a good idea to include one or more foreground elements in silhouette.
Reader photo by Joni Massengale, Charlotte, NC

To further saturate colors in the sky, try experimenting with a polarizing filter to dramatize blue skies against white, fluffy clouds. A fluorescent (FLD) or sunset filter can punch up colors in a sunrise or sunset. You may not be able to attach filters to your compact camera lens’ front element, but you can hold them in front of your lens. Try one or more of these filters, in addition to photographing the scene with no filter at all.

Readers are encouraged to submit photos to our monthly Point & Shoot Homework Assignment feature. Please see the table of contents for the location of the entry coupon, which lists topics and more details.

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