Chasing Clouds…Or, How To Be Late For Dinner On A Friday Evening

So yesterday, Friday, it rained pretty much for the better part of the day. Then, around 3 p.m., I could see the sun starting to poke through. By the time I left the office at 5:45, it was a gorgeous evening. I dumped my bag in my car and just had a feeling. I pulled my camera bag out and got a bit excited. I had a feeling I’d find something cool to shoot on the way home. It was pretty breezy and the big clouds were shifting across the sky.

As I drove home, south on Route 130, I kept framing things up outside my passenger side window. My PSW is like a big LCD screen to me. I frame it there to see if it would work in camera, possibly. The cloud formations were literally changing by the minute…I’d see great clouds but nothing in foreground or perspective. Or I’d see the foreground and the sky was flat.

I decided to hang a right and roll through Cranbury, New Jersey. Cool little old town, Cranbury. Families were walking down the main strip to a dinner at a local pizza place, or to get ice cream. Little did they know a stalker was among them….

I wasn’t catching what I wanted but I knew where I had to go. It’s a spot I’ve shot before. In fact, if you go to my very first post of this blog (no, I’m not going to link to it, I’m going to make you work for it…. 🙂 you’ll see the spot and the barn. This time, it again gave me what I wanted. Beautiful foreground with some great cloud formation above.

A few weeks ago, Moose Peterson shared his B&W technique. I guess I had that in mind because when I shot this, I knew it would end up in B&W, even though the evening sky was brilliant and spring-like.


Large and On Black. It was an awesome spectacle.

But I had another avenue I wanted to try too. After that shot, still working my way home, I hung a couple of rights and lefts and got to the peaceful setting I was looking for. Sure, New Jersey is crowded and over-populated, with more toll roads and jug handles than you can shake a stick at. But…if you know where to look, you find the real New Jersey. And sometimes, amid the McMansions and new developments, the real New Jersey is about, oh, three miles from the place you lay your head at night.


Large and On Black

I caught maybe a little too much grain in this last one, but I like it nonetheless.

Sure, my Friday evening drive home took a little longer with these detours. But man, Mother Nature made it worth it! Both of these images were shot in color and coverted and finished using NIK Silver Efex Pro.

© Mark V. Krajnak 2009 | JerseyStyle Photography | All rights Reserved Unless otherwise noted, images captured with a Canon 20D, SanDisk digital film, finished with PS2 and Nik Software.

7 thoughts on “Chasing Clouds…Or, How To Be Late For Dinner On A Friday Evening

  1. Both of these are wonderful. My wife used to have her office in Cranbury, I know the town well. Now I’m gonna have to go to that first post. Really lovely images. I went to Moose’s site to see his B&W demo. Do you use Dfine (noise reducer?) Just curious. I was out in Pittsburgh this morning shooting in clouds similar to those. It was daytime, though, and my images won’t reach the heights you have here.

  2. Chris…ha! Glad you know Cranbury. I really like that little town.

    Actually, no, I don’t use Dfine. I don’t use any noise reducer; maybe I should. While I liked his vid, I didn’t try to copy it word-for-word. It just told me that OK, you’re in the ballpark and can possibly finish some photos the way Moose does. But even before that, I was trying to compose it correctly.

    Then again…I was shooting from the front seat of my car in both cases. And in the one with the cattle, I had to keep checking the rearview to make sure I wasn’t holding up traffic. LOL!

    And, since you were persistant…here’s the link to the numero uno blog, and where the barn first appeared:

  3. I just wondered about Dfine, I’m looking for a noise program and wondering what people think. I’ve sorta lusted after the Nik suite for some time, I really HATE layers and masks and love the idea of the ‘point’ technology. It seems more, I don’t know, natural or something. As I move towards delivering final prints for people, I’m (sigh) gonna have to get better at my digital toolset. I have had this love-hate relationship with Photoshop for some time.

  4. Chris, Nik rocks. Plain and simple. I run both the Color Efex Pro and the Silver Efex Pro. Wow. The post-processing stuff you can do. It’s sweet. I really like it. Maybe give it a try…

  5. I love that first one. The clouds and light shining through are amazing, and when I look closer there are those really nice lines of the grass and the road receding into the distance. Kudos

  6. How funny is that – I ran over to a park on this same day for the same reason and got some great cloud shots right before sunset (and right before it started raining again) Awesome photos, once again, Mark.

    I use Dfine for my noise reduction – it does a beautiful job without messing up the photo. Sometimes I have to mask over parts of wildlife that I want detail on (fur, feathers, eyes) but for landscapes it rocks.

  7. Great photos, Mark! I see your considerable talent has only grown greater since last we spoke. PCC sent me the link, great to hear things are going so well for you. Same here – I’ve even managed to become a grandpa. Keep up the terrific work!

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