I headed out for a dawn seascape shoot this morning, and to my disappointment, the conditions were appalling.
The sky was mostly plain, with the fairly typical annoying clump of dark cloud right on the horizon. The very few patches of good cloud were mostly in the wrong places.
The conditions, apart from being utterly boring, were extremely difficult for exposure, even with GND filters.
I made the decision not long after being there, that I wasn’t going to shoot.
The light just was not right, and for some landscape/seascape and even wildlife photographers, the light and combination of sky and cloud, is crucial to the shot working or not.
So, this raises the question: If the conditions are not right, should you shoot, or should you not shoot?
Some people would take the view of making the best of the present situation, or shooting anyway, since they are already there.
Others decide that good enough is not good enough, and that they want a certain type of image which requires a certain type or quality of light.
For me, while the notion of making the best of a bad situation has a certain positive outlook about it and is otherwise commendable, I am extremely fussy about light and want a certain look, quality of light and feel to my images, so I elect to back off the shutter release if the conditions are unfavourable.
I’ve noticed that the hard-core ‘scapers whose work I follow, rarely ever publish an image captured in in sub-optimal light.
I’m not a bird photographer, but I’ve also noticed that those guys are very fussy about light and tend to favour images of their favourite feathered friends basking in golden hour light.
At the end of the day, it comes down to good light or bust.
Fortunately I have the liberty to decide that pressing the shutter release isn’t worth it; the only demand I face is that I set for myself in capturing the image I want.