Overcast Weather Photo Tips

Today I entered into Yosemite National Park followed by a snow storm, didn’t Mother Nature get my message that I wanted to photograph Horsetail Falls? I text messaged, faxed her and called her, I think she is screening her calls. The poor weather did give me the opportunity to think of some overcast weather photo tips for when you are trying to do landscape photos.

Tip # 1: Don’t do landscape photos

Helpful right? Think about it, I was working with a sky today that no matter how many Neutral Density or Polarizers filters you use you will still get a sky like in the photo below. Landscape photos thrive on good clouds and skies so if you are not going to get either put your focus and clicks toward something else.

Tip #2 Get in close

Move in and get close to your subject, details pop in complete cloud coverage when you get in close. So break out your Close Up lenses and your Telephoto lenses.


Mule deer


Fresh snow on a bridge

Tip #3 Wait for the breaks in light 

I had one break in light and I immediately threw on my blue ND filter. Be prepared for this, I had my mount ready incase I got a break in the light and I was happy with the result. It only happened once for me today so you don’t want to miss your chances when they come.


Upper Yosemite Falls

Tip #4 Cut off the sky

If you are going to take pictures of landscapes cut off the sky, show more of the ground, or just move in closer and cut the ground and sky off. Just get rid of the sky; this way you will enjoy your photo more. Get creative and find objects to put in the foreground to remove more of the sky, put what you want our eyes to go to in focus.

Cutting off the sky because of poor weather

Cutting off the sky because of poor weather at Lower Yosemite Falls

Tip #5 Protect your equipment

You won’t believe the amount of people I walked by today without their lens cap on and allowing snow to land and melt onto their cameras. I use a buff when I go hiking so I remove mine and cover my camera with it, works perfectly and I look like a 1900’s photographer looking through a cloth. If you don’t have that grab a shower cap, works just as well and I have used many times.


The key is not to let the day go to waste and to not take photos you won’t be happy with. Change your plan and adapt to the circumstances. I hope to have better weather tomorrow and some photos of Horsetail Falls on “fire!”

24 Comments on “Overcast Weather Photo Tips”

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  2. Good tips, I usually go out there and try to get the best shots I can but if it is overcast why waste my time on the cloud shots. Sound advice Pasquale.

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