Clouds are an important part of landscape photography – in case you want to shoot truly amazing landscapes, you certainly have to pay special attention to clouds and their shapes and colors.
According to the World Meteorological Organization's International Cloud Atlas, there are 10 basic types of clouds. Knowing these types can be useful in case you want to be able to recognize them and know what type of weather you can expect from each of them.
- Low-level clouds (cumulus, stratus, stratocumulus) all lie below 6,500 feet. Cumulus clouds are usually rounded, puffy, and white; stratus clouds are flat and grayish, and stratocumulus clouds are puffy grayish clouds that show up in patches with clear sky between them.
- Middle clouds (altocumulus, nimbostratus, altostratus) form between 6,500 and 20,000 feet. Altocumulus clouds are usually rounded masses aligned in parallel bands, nimbostratus clouds are very thick and dark gray, and altostratus clouds look like bluish-gray sheets that partially or totally cover the sky.
- High-level clouds (cirrus, cirrocumulus, cirrostratus) lie above 20,000 feet. Cirrus clouds are thin, white, and wispy; cirrocumulus clouds are small and white, often arranged in rows; and cirrostratus clouds are semi-transparent streaks that veil the entire sky.
- Cumulonimbus clouds span the low, middle, and high altitudes, and they resemble cumulus clouds. Their bottoms are usually dark, and they are thunderstorm clouds.
Now that you know what these cloud types look like, you can enjoy the following 20 beautiful examples of cloud photography! Also, don't forget that capturing beauty is about amazing composition. Getting composition right has always been the greatest challenge for the photographer. If you’d like to get better at photography composition and learn concepts that go beyond the basics, you should take a look at Kent DuFault’s guide to advanced composition.
Advanced Composition will ensure you create images that pop. You'll get more out of your photography and start taking images that will truly capture your creative vision. If you’d like to improve your composition skills and learn concepts that go beyond the rule of thirds, do take a look at Kent DuFault’s guide.
We hope you've enjoyed this inspiring gallery of clouds. If you are looking to improve your photography composition and learn concepts that go beyond the rule of thirds, take a look at Kent DuFault’s guide Advanced Composition.