Outdoor Photography

Bad Weather Conditions – A Photographers Dream

When dark clouds roll into the sky most photographers run for shelter, but the ones who stay out and brave the weather can sometimes capture the most amazing photos. Bad weather can give photographers a chance to capture rain photos, snow photos, or even lightning photos. In the world of photography the rarer and harder to capture photos tend to sell for a higher price; so there is a potentially large market for bad weather conditions if you are a photographer.

Bad weather is a good thing.

Braving bad weather when everyone else is running for cover can sometimes have its advantages. These advantages come in the form of snow, lightning or rain photographs. Some amazing photographs can be taken during bad weather. Usually, the more difficult or rare it is to take a photograph of something, the more demand there will be for it. This concept alone can open up a large market for you as a photographer. You will see a greater demand for the photographs and can charge a significantly higher price per photograph.

Photographing the Rain

A compelling effect that the rain causes is imparting a sheen on the surfaces that it falls on. In big cities, the rain can make streets shine and make buildings look darker. The grass in a big field out in the country can shine with the moisture that settles on it. Drops of water on the leaves of trees can sparkle under the correct lighting conditions. If the sky is dense with rain clouds, then they can act as a great natural diffuser to the light. By blocking out and spreading the light evenly across the sky, the clouds aid the photographer by diminishing shadows. Two great forms of photography truly stand out in bad weather. Wildlife or nature photography and portrait photography. In nature photography, the animals tend to huddle and curl up to remain warmer and dryer. Together with the wet surroundings, these shots can be very powerful. When considering portrait photographs, more striking ones can be obtained because the diffused light tends to dominate the subject rather than the gloomy surroundings.

To compensate for the gloomy weather, you will have to adjust your camera accordingly. Increasing shutter speed and aperture are some of the adjustments that photographers make during bad weather photography. Other items such as waterproof backpack for your cameras and lenses, and an umbrella or other appropriate shield for the top of your lens to keep it dry are essential. Carrying a tripod will also help you take those shots with long exposure times and eliminate blurry pictures.

Photographing Lightning

One of the hardest phenomena to capture, lighting can provide very powerful photographs. The way a bolt of lightning can light up a scene is almost magical. In order to capture lightning, you need two things: a tripod and a long shutter speed. The ‘bulb’ option in your shutter speed is most effective in this case. Having your camera on a tripod with the shutter held open as long as required is a method of capturing lightning. As soon as the lightning flashes and passes by, release the shutter to get the brightest possible picture.

Photographing Snow

The whiteness that snow can add to a photograph often provides great contrast and a wintery feeling. Normal colors show up very clearly against a snowy backdrop and are quite striking. Snowy nature photographs can often sell for great amounts of money because of the rarity and risks involved. Taking pictures of animals such as penguins or polar bears in the harsh, snowy locations is often fraught with a great deal of risk and difficulty. This justifies the high price that can be charged for such pictures.

Capturing bright white snow is not as easy as it may seem. This is because the large areas of brightness in the picture tend to impart a much darker and shadowy effect to other objects in the snow. Experienced photographers overcome this problem by overexposing the photograph. This still allows the snow to be as bright as it was, but also correctly exposes the other objects in the picture. One other thing to consider is your camera’s white balance. Sometimes, snow has a way of throwing your white-balance off. Make sure you select an appropriate setting to suit the snow or switch to an automatic white-balance setting.

Chasing Storms

Some daring photographers have devoted their lives to photographing some amazing and dangerous weather patterns that Mother Nature throws at us. They photograph tornadoes and hurricanes and are often perilously exposed to this weather themselves. If executed well, then these photographs can fetch top dollar when they are sold to newspapers or magazines. Often, viewers will have very strong feelings when they look at the photographs of extreme weather such as this. It puts everything into perspective when they get a chance to look at the destructive powers of mother nature.

To minimize the risks involved, some photographers will stay fairly far away from the thick of the storm that they are capturing. They will setup and take photos of the storm from a distance. All they would need is some protective material for their cameras and a cloth for wiping down the lens before taking photographs. Other photographers will keep their equipment directly in the path of the storm. This type of photography requires strong equipment and different photography techniques. The cameras are encased in protective cases and are usually placed on tripods which are drilled into the ground to offer stability. They are then operated via remote control so that the photographer can stay at a more safe distance away from the storm.

In Summary

By looking at bad weather as more of an opportunity rather than a hinderance, you can maximize the subject matter that you photograph. Some very powerful and compelling photographs are of inclement weather such as rain or snow storms. To capture milder versions of the storms, it is highly recommended that you carry waterproof, protective material and a tripod along with you always. This will help you capture the perfect storm should one turn up out of nowhere. Successful photographers are well prepared photographers and don’t let opportunities pass them by.

If you’re thinking about improving your outdoor photography you should first consider your knowledge of manipulation etc. Here is a great source of good tricks and techniques to make your creative shots even better.

Hope this has helped in some way. If you only learned one thing, you’re in front right?!

Ray Baker