Bad weather - opportunities for photography

Blog - Phil-osophy on Landscape Photography > Bad weather - opportunities for photography
13/06/2013 - 00:07



'Bad weather' - is it really time to pack the camera away?


There are those who photograph in the great outdoors that look forward to the challenge of making photograph in adverse weather.

Here are some opportunities to consider:


Stormy weather...


  •  chinks in omnipotent clouds letting crepuscular light create dappled pools on the land..



Golden hour evening sunlight, in early spring, bathes the hills above Merrivale and Walkhampton Common below. Snow dusts some of the higher ground in the distance.

Weather conditions: fleeting light,  -11 degrees windchill and 50mph winds!



  • or the returning light as a storm retreats - for clearer air, far reaching views and dramatic light & shadow contrasts ....




Start Point Peninsula, South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Weather conditions: returning sunlight in late afternoon, in sprintime, as a huge thunderstorm retreats to the east


  • waves crashing into the coastline - drama, tension, accentuated detail of textures and form in the rocks


'The Tonic of Wildness'

Treyarnon Point  in Cornwall - looking across Constantine and Booby’s Bay towards to the Quies and The Bull Islands, which lie near Dinas Head.

Weather conditions: Storm Force 8, occasionally Force 9! Drizzle then heavy showers of rain, sea spray, occasional bursts of hazy stormlight...



Drizzly weather...



  • harbours and boats moored in estuaries - the painted colours of trawlers, bouys, flags and sails seem richer in this soft, diffused light and ambience - great colour contrast are possible.



Back Beach harbour, Teignmouth/ River Teign, Devon

Weather conditions: consistant light drizzle, breezy and occasional moments of soft, directional hazy light



'BM 190'

Dawlish Warren, Exe Estuary, Devon

Weather conditions: misty drizzle, strong north-westerly breeze, storm front starting to retreat, transient burst of hazy stormlight



  • Woodlands, whitewater rapids and waterfalls - again rich colour contrasts and an accentuation of surface textures, detail and form - compared to the same location in bright sunny conditions



Golitha Falls, Cornwall

Weather conditions: persistant drizzle, a breeze and soft, hazy directional transient light



 The swift waters of the River Dart, as Grade I / II rapids, bounce amongst the pebbles and gravels of a shoal beside an ‘eyot’ (river island) - near Buckfastleigh in Devon.

Weather conditions: Force 6 winds, drizzle, low level cloud with occasional periods of soft & directional hazy evening light



Transient sunlight dapples the riverbanks in places, as the slowly drifting waters of the River Tavy pass beneath Denham Bridge on the edge of Dartmoor National Park.


Weather conditions: Cloud-base touching the summits of the hilltops surrounding the valley, very fine drizzle and occasional bursts of transient light



If you have not yet taken up the potentially rewarding challenges of doing landscape photography in 'bad weather' then so long as you are safe in such conditions (i.e. not to close to the edge of the cliffs or reef by a stormy sea or likely to be zapped by a stray bolt of lightning!) then give it a go - you may well be suprised at the results.


Try this tip...


consider using a polarizer in such conditions, it will result in good colour contrast, longer exposures (up to 2-stops) and reduction of glare on wet surfaces (even allowing some sub-surface details to be seen in rivers, rock pools, tidal lagoons, etc. A sturdy tripod is going to pretty much a necessity  - in all of the weather conditions described in this article.




It would be great to hear your thoughts on Landscape Photography in 'bad weather' - have you had a go at some of these ideas and if so, what are your favorite 'bad weather' scenarios to make photographs in?





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