Stormy Skies for Killer Backgrounds


Six inches of rain slashing down in a day, with huge walls of wind at 40+ MPH.

I love it.

Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts

Blue Is Boring – Storms Are Cool
From April until October, northern California is home to relentlessly boring blue skies. So when the season’s first storm is the tail end of a Pacific typhoon, there are gonna be some great sky textures.

I staked out Mountain View, California’s Center for the Performing Arts the night before the storm hit. This classic dome comes with warm-toned accent lighting, but I also added some of my own. One off-camera strobe came in very handy to perk up the fountain and reflecting pool. Setting white balance for the warm lighting made the sky look even more cold and ominous.

A week earlier, I found planets drifting in a dark sea in front of Campbell Heritage Theater.

Campbell Heritage Theater

Here, I closed in on the building itself, and it was dark enough to let the dull sky go black. The glass globes move, but slowly enough to let me use use long shutter speeds. Even at the high ISO I was using, a late-model dSLR camera created almost noiseless results.

This time my off-camera strobe picked out the nearest planet. Cool stuff!

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