The perfect balance between totally grey or blue. It fits the needs of long exposure daylight photography with strong neutral density filters which need structured clouds. Or maybe you just love to have interesting clouds in your shot.
Imagine perfect white sheep clouds infront of a blue sky. In this case, the parameter will show a 99% probability of structured clouds. It will show 1% if the sky is completely covered or if the sky is completely blue, which both are pretty boring for landscape photography.
Simply choose the parameter from the weather parameter menu. The better the map is visible in an area, the higher the probability of a structured sky.
Chances are best within an area with the map broadly visible. Simply choose a photo spot in this areas. Tap the preview and if you like what you see, tap the preview again to gain information from the photo spot.
Like any parameter with a gray color overlay, this is a template parameter. Areas where the map is clearly visible have a high probability. Areas where the map is grayed out have a low probability.
Based on the visualization we use, the “Streets” and “Outdoor” background maps provide the best contrast to see the color overlay well. The background map can be changed at the top of the menu bar.
The scale can be used to translate how high the probability is. Simply compare the map with the scale and read off the value. Please remember: a probability of 20% means that you will come up empty in 4/5 cases!
In the highly visible areas of the map, the probability of occurrence of the weather phenomenon is particularly high. Pick out photo spots in these areas. The weather overlay covers the photo spots up like a template. The better a marker can be seen, the higher the probability for the weather phenomenon to occur at this specific photo spot.
By setting the filter in “Views” to “Weather specific”, only those photo spots will be displayed that can be photographed with the selected weather phenomenon.
The weather forecast in VIEWFINDR is a computer simulation that very realistically forecasts the coming weather. However, the forecast is not exactly the reality and there will be deviations.
In VIEWFINDR new weather data is provided every 3h. For example, if you check for the probability of afterglow after sunset in the morning hours, the forecast will change several times over day. This is perfectly normal and that’s a good thing!
The closer the deadline, i.e. the sunset in the evening, the smaller the deviation of the computer simulation from reality becomes. The forecast becomes more precise. Before you finally set out to take pictures, you should therefore take another look at the current forecast.
You should therefore check the forecast again before you start your photography tour to see, if the probability is still high. Don’t be mad if the forecast probability changed into worse, it probably saved you from a bad outcome!
The weather forecast in VIEWFINDR is limited to 24h for local weather models and 72h for continental weather models. It is not useful to look into the future for a longer period of time. The forecast becomes inaccurate and is not reliable. Weather apps that allow forecasts of more than 3 days but do not provide any indication that the forecast is extremely inaccurate are a disgrace. This gives the impression that weather forecasting does not work. But weather forecasting works very well, even if not more than 72h into the future.
Just as the resolution of your camera is limited, i.e. it cannot take an “infinitely” sharp photo, the resolution of the weather model is also limited. This is 2.8km for Central European weather data and 7km for European weather data.
Structures and features of the landscape that are not that large are averaged by the model. For example, if a mountain is 800m high, and the valley next to it is 400m high, then the landscape for the weather model in that “pixel” is 600m high, corresponding to the average altitude.
This means that small structures, like narrow mountain valleys or local small river valleys cannot be properly captured by the model. This is not a problem, you just have to learn to deal with it. If a valley in the mountains is much smaller than the resolution of our weather model, then you have to interpolate.
Small valleys always end in larger valleys. You can therefore use the weather in the next larger valley as a good reference for the weather in a smaller, adjacent valley. In the example, you can see that the large valley is filled with fog. It is almost certain that the small valley is also filled with fog.
Due to the limited resolution, it makes sense not to use too much zoom. It is important that you look at the overall context. Therefore, consider the weather forecast not only for your location, but at least for the entire region where you are shooting.
This example show how the weather model sees the landscape. It is pixelated because of the limited resolution.
Due to limited resolution, this layer of low clouds/fog will not indicate fog in valleys with a size below the resolution.
When uploading a new photospot you guide other photographers. Connecting a photospot to the structured sky paramter is not “making a wish”. Only connect photospots which actually good for long exposure photography.
When it comes to shoot long exposure shots in landscape photography, photographers tend to look for clouds with sharp edges and high contrasts. We developed an algorithm which detects sharp edges of cloud clusters in the weather forecast models. If a sharp edge is detected, the algorithm sets the probability up to 99%. If the sky is completely blue or grey, no edges can be found and hence, the probability of nice clouds for long exposure shots will be zero.