Bad Weather, Good Photos

If, like me, you live in the Northern Hemisphere, then the bad weather’s a‘coming ... frigid winds ... driving rain ... mist ... snow.

Maybe it has already hit you.

And even if you live in the southern part of the world, with the days lengthening, you’re certain to get some bad weather in amongst it all.

So, when the mist rolls in off the moors, is it time to settle down with a good book in front of a blazing fire?

Definitely not.

Be brave. Get out there into the elements. Bad weather is a time when the vast majority of other photographers pack their equipment away and break out the beers. They don't know what they're missing - opportunities for beautiful and dramatic shots. An approaching storm, a bank of fog, a sudden rain squall, an unexpected rainbow, can all transform the most mundane scenery into something beautiful.

I’ve already blogged about photography in the rain, and ways of protecting your camera, here.

What about mist and fog? There’s a lot of it around here at this time of year, and certain scenes lend themselves particularly well to it. What would fishing be without a bit of fog on the river ...

This shot wasn't intended as 'artistic'. It's deliberately framed to be 'saleable' with space for text to the right. And I chose a position which included the two buoys in the background to give some depth. I used a 300mm telephoto, with the camera on a tripod. The telephoto has accentuated the effect by focussing in on the fog and the subject, causing detail and colours to soften.

Here’s another shot of mine, taken in the depths of winter, up in the Jura mountains behind where I live.

One difficulty with mist is that light levels are much lower so a tripod is essential. You also need to be careful with the white balance as fog can look unusually blue. Set it to ‘cloudy’ for a more natural effect. I feel that the bluish tone in the fishing shot enhances it. But had the tree shot been too blue it would have looked un-natural.

Finally, when photographing in mist and fog, check the front element of your lens regularly as water droplets can condense on it, ruining the clarity of your images.

When the weather turns bad don’t cower inside with your camera idle.

Get out there and get those great shots


Livia said...

I love your photos! But just wondering if it was not possible to get your fisherman on the left side, is there any reason not to shoot it opposite and then reverse the photo in Lightroom using the rotate key "Flip Horizontal"?

CBrown said...

Beautiful. Wish our once a year snow wasn't accompanied by icy roads!

Alistair Scott said...

Hi Livia. Thanks for the compliment.

As for getting the fisherman on the left side ... I didn't feel I could yell across the lake and ask him to move. So I've done it in Photoshop.

Very easy. But it does raise questions. See my latest post.

Alistair Scott said...

Thanks Carol.

Yes. Icy and snowy roads are a problem. You want to get out to get all those lovely monochrome images but the roads ...

That's me, last winter. :-)