It's cold and raining - stay dry and warm inside, or head out?
I'm sat in the office musing over some of my images taken in (so called) bad weather. Photographing when it's wet, windy and often freezing cold is a challenge - but when I return home with dramatic and successful photos it's a great feeling.
Probably my least favourite conditions are sunny blue sky days with no clouds in the sky. These can be pretty boring photographically - best to get down the beach and relax or surf or something.
If I am faced with a grey overcast day, maybe with some rain thrown in for good measure, I'll often head for the woods. The clouds act as a giant diffuser filling in the shadows and creating lovely soft light.
This image of Sgwr yr Eira waterfall in the Brecon Beacons was made in a soaking wet day. After a 45 minute walk to the location, the misty atmosphere was brilliant and the photographs just flowed.
There's often not many people about either - less red anoraks to walk into the shot just when you want to shoot! I used a tripod clamped umbrella to shelter my camera as I set the shot up, then unclamped and held the umbrella as I made the exposures to avoid the brolly moving the camera.
On another occasion, after a four day cycle ride around the Antrim Coast in Northern Ireland, I revisited the Giant's Causeway a few days later with my camera and all my kit (sadly I couldn't ride 65 miles a day with my Gitzo + Fuji GX617 strapped to my bike!). Huge waves were rolling in from the sea and the wind was whipping up foam and spray as as well threatening to knock me over!
Widening the tripod legs and keeping the camera low helped, as did hanging my heavy camera bag from the tripod to add weight. With a chamois over the lens I waited for the sun to break through the clouds for a few seconds at a time and quickly made an image. With eyes streaming from the intense wind, I wiped the lens between shots and managed to change films too. Quite a challenging shoot, but great fun actually.
Photographing in bad weather
- Less people about - you get the landscape to yourself
- Clouds reflect light into the shadows, softening them
- Can result in dramatic moments if the sun breaks through
- Skies with drama in the clouds add an important dimension to the image
- It can be exhilarating going out in rough weather and overcoming the weather challenges to get an image
- Getting home to get dry and a enjoy steaming a mug of hot chocolate is a great feeling
- You might get a bit cold and wet
- You'll probably have to clean and dry all your equipment after
- Chamois Leather for wiping equipment and covering equipment to keep dry
- Wellies - to keep your feet dry
- Brolley - for the camera + clamp or willing assistant
- Waterproof clothes!
Now, when's the snow coming to Devon? I want to see more sights like this: