While driving home today I got hit by a giant thunder storm. One of my main roads home along with the nearby parallel ones were flooded, and when the hail started getting bigger I found a parking lot to hide in for a while. It was actually owned by a car wash company, so they let me stay as long as I got a vacuum as well (which was long overdue anyway). While waiting for the storm to die down I grabbed my camera and tripod and took this opportunity for a nice HDR pano.
I’ve found that pretty scenery usually doesn’t make for nice image-based-lighting, so it’s better to keep an eye out for ordinary places that have interesting lighting – under a tree, next to a wall or inside a restaurant. When using these images for lighting, you don’t see the epic landscape reflected in your characters’s eyes, you see the soft diffuse glow of the sky, the warm bounce from the grass and the harsh rays of the sun. In other words, most outdoor IBLs give you the same lighting, especially when you have your own ground plane.