The Importance Of Clouds


Clouds have the potential to add what’s missing from a scene. And, sometimes it’s the clouds that play a leading role in landscape imagery. If not a leading role, they are very often a strong supporting one. For me, clouds can make or break an image. I look for cloud balance when framing. Clouds that are unusual and in good position to the landscape are of special interest. As most photographers know, approaching storms and clearing storms can be great opportunities to capture interesting clouds. For me, the images below are successful because of the quality of the clouds. Some of these are very recent and a couple of the others were on hold for this post … about ‘The Importance Of Clouds’ in landscape photography!

A colorful display happens in the sky moments before sunrise!

‘Stripes At Dawn’ © Denise Bush

Stacked clouds adorn the sky above a beautiful winter peak.

‘Stacked Clouds Above High Peak’ © Denise Bush

Clouds from a clearing storm hug the frosty slopes.

‘Clouds Over Winter Slope’ © Denise Bush

Cimarrons, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, mountain, mountain range, Ouray County, Ridgway, cloud, sunset

‘Funny Little Cloud’ © Denise Bush

Inverted clouds linger in the valley along the Million Dollar Highway, looking toward Silverton.

‘Clouds In The Valley’ © Denise Bush

Some pretty pastel clouds form over a portion of Cimarron Ridge near Ridgway, Colorado.

‘Painterly Clouds Over Ridge’ © Denise Bush

A frosty ridge is topped by a cotton candy cloud.

‘Frosty Treat & Cotton Candy’ © Denise Bush

The warm light of alpenglow illuminates the snow-covered rocks and beautiful pink clouds.

‘Clearing Storm With Alpenglow’ © Denise Bush

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27 Responses to “The Importance Of Clouds”

  1. Beautiful post, Denise. Thanks.

  2. Totally agree, Denise. Lovely images.

  3. Those broad, slanted, gray and orange stripes in the opening image are particularly pleasing, especially as the mountains across the bottom pick up that gray again.

    Later on, the pink cloud floating by itself in a gray sky calls due attention to itself. Following that up with a slew of pink cottony clouds is a good way to end.

    • All that you mention were shot from our property. The first was sunrise and the later two mentioned were at/near sunset. Thanks Steve!

  4. 7 Hans

    An exciting cloudy sky sometimes makes the whole picture, but can also take it over. The balance and symbiosis therefore become extra important, of which your pictures are excellent examples.

    • Thanks Hans … glad you think these have a good balance. I feel the clouds are the main subject in most of them but not the only subject.

  5. Clouds in the Valley combine our love of trees, mountains and sky perfectly. Well done!

  6. I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
    From up and down and still somehow
    It’s cloud illusions I recall
    I really don’t know clouds at all
    Joni Mitchell’s song Clouds came to mind when I saw this MARVELOUS collection. XOXO

    • I have always been a big Joni fan. ‘Both Sides Now’ was written by her but recorded by several others and some even before her. I often find it playing in my head when I’m witnessing and photographing beautiful clouds. XOXO … thanks!

  7. Beautiful clouds. I love the clouds in the valley and the clearing storm with alpenglow.

  8. Clouds do add so much to photos, there are so many variations, endlessly interesting, as no two are exactly alike. The storm clouds around the peaks in the third and last shot are so dramatic and a bit foreboding. ‘Funny Little Cloud’ looks like a great illustration of a children’s story. A picture worth a thousand words! 🙂

    • Thanks Eliza! Good point that the ever-changing clouds can create very different images form the same location. I am always on the lookout for scenes like ‘Funny Little Cloud’ and Frosty Treat & Cotton Candy’ … sometimes waiting and willing a cloud into perfect position!.

  9. 17 Ken Curtis

    I couldn’t agree more how important clouds are as you have aptly shown. In this blog posting each and every image is a winner and very beautiful. Without the clouds these might be mundane, but the clouds bring them to life. Good job, Denise.

  10. Agreed! A cloudless sky can drastically minimize a scene’s impact and interest. As your images show, clouds capture and reflect light, color and shadow in endless combinations. “Clearing Storm With Alpenglow” is my favorite! Bravo!

  11. Great cloud stories!

  12. We love clouds! I loved your image “clouds in the valley”, and the last one, “clearing storm with Alpine glow” is so pretty. I find myself disappointed at the beginning and end of each day if there are no clouds.

    • I know! Non-photographers here get excited over what they call a ‘bluebird day’. I don’t even bother going out unless I have something in mind that doesn’t include the sky. If I do include a bald sky it is minimal. We have another red code winter storm warning for the next couple of days. Thanks for visiting Deborah!

  13. Clouds get in my eyes. And I love ’em. Your Funny Little Cloud looks like a tadpole. I think my favs are Clouds over Winter Slope and Clouds in the Valley. Weather can transform a dull little landscape into a drama queen.

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