What a dreadful rainy overcast day. Autumn is here. Bad weather’s here. Although the season brings a cascade of warm gold colours to landscapes, it often sucks out the light of them (pun totally intended). What I mean is that there’s more often than not a thick cloud cover blocking the light. Everything seems so grey. And on top of that it’s even windy. Dreadful weather. This can’t be good for photography. Or can it?

Most often it doesn’t turn out to be good. The light just disappears as the sun sinks below the horizon and instead of colourful skies you get nothing but grey darkness. But sometimes, sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes the clouds break exactly at the right spot to let that golden sunlight through and light up the sky in hot pinks and read and oranges.

It was a day similar to the past few rainy overcast days in Vienna.  It was a spring day though, I have to admit. Despite the bad weather, I spontaneously decided to head out to Leopoldsberg that day to see if I could get a decent image. I was checking the forecasts, weather and cloud coverage and thought I might be lucky – it seemed the clouds might just break up where was sun was setting.

But that late spring evening wasn’t a great one. The light just wasn’t really happening. I was capturing some images of dramatic rainy dark skies, but that was not what I had hoped for. On top of that I had some quite unpleasant company at the viewpoint – loud young men, suspiciously glaring in my direction. So much for a quiet evening out shooting. The sun was already behind the mountains and I thought to myself, I better leave. But something told me to wait just another minute, or two. So I did.

And that is when the magic happened. The clouds broke in the distance and streams of sunlight coloured the dark skies gold and pink. It was ecstatic, I took a dozen images when I realized there was also a thick rainbow beaming down towards Vienna. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The light only lasted for a few minutes and then it was completely gone, leaving the skies grey and dull. If I had left a minute ago, I would have missed it all. My patience has definitely paid off.

It isn’t over till it’s over

Sometimes the light can come and go in the matter of seconds. Not only at sunset, but also during the day. So be patient. You can rely on forecasts, but they will never be entirely accurate. You might not get light on a perfect day but you also might be fortunate on an overcast evening. Patience is key. If you wait long enough, if you stay when others have already left, if you go the extra mile (or rather that extra minute or two) you might be rewarded with the perfect conditions. It’s never over till its over.

BEFORE AND AFTER

I love this photo. Each time I look at it, it still seems unreal. But I was there and it was real, I can assure you.

TECHNICAL SPECS AND GPS COORDINATES

The image is a HDR made in Photoshop from three exposures: ±0 EV, -1 EV, and +1 EV. This helped me to emphasise the colours and squeeze out a bit more detail from the shot.

Location: 48°16’40.7″N 16°20’50.2″E
Gear: Nikon D5300 • Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 • CLP filter • Matona ballhead travel tripod
Shot: 50mm • F11 • ISO 100
Software:  Lightroom 6, Photoshop CC, Photoshop HDR, Nik Collection Color Efex Pro 4

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