Poor weather provides excellent opportunities for you to capture cracking shots and brooding masterpieces. So get out there with your camera, with the help of our top bad weather photography tips…
Bad weather photography tips – 1. Protection
It may sound obvious, but wandering off across the dales in jeans and t-shirt is asking for trouble. Even if it isn’t cold or raining when you set out, the weather can change and you should be ready for it. Wrap up warm, wear waterproof outer wear and a hat for insulation. A good pair of walking shoes is a must too.
We should also take steps to safeguard our photo kit. Choose a tough camera bag that offers water and wind resistance. Some brands come with a built-in rain cover.
Next, consider lens protection. All lenses will benefit from an inexpensive UV filter, which will help shield the precious front element from windborne particles and the type of salty spray found at the coast.
Rain or drizzle? Take an All-weather Protector (about £30 from Kata). This clear plastic sleeve will envelop your DSLR (apart from the lens front). Controls are accessed through side sleeves.
When you get home, leave your camera in its bag for five to 10 minutes to acclimatise. This avoids warm air condensing into mist as it meets the cold surface of the lens. And always keep silica gel sachets in your kit bag, as they help absorb excess moisture.
Bad weather photography tips – 2. Make the Most of Raindrops
One thing that you can be pretty much assured of in Britain, come summer or winter, is rain. But has it anything to offer us photographically?
Capturing the motion of the speeding droplets represents just one interesting avenue of exploration, but another, more considered though equally satisfying, approach is to concentrate on their still form i.e. raindrops.
Of the man-made surfaces that might serve as a host, glass, metal and polished stone hold the water’s intricate form well, while waxed paintwork seems to offer the very best resolving power for individual droplets.
However, raindrops form almost anywhere: they hang gregariously beneath twigs; enthusiastically colonise the webs of spiders; will happily speckle the planks of a park bench and frequently adorn fluffy seed heads and all kinds of leaf.
Nevertheless, having a few pointers to help tackle this subject is no bad thing, and so, compiled here is a ready-made series of steps that will assist you in making the most of this often overlooked marvel of nature.
Bad weather photography tips – 3. Shoot the Breeze
Purportedly, Britain is the windiest place in western Europe. While our fondness for the humble sprout can sometimes be held responsible for this blustery reputation, more often than not it is due to our long, exposed coastlines and low mountain ranges.
High winds do indeed entail hardship for us photographers, yet seldom insurmountably so. These problems seem small when set against the visual opportunities that this energetic element can offer: propellers that spin, windmills that grandly turn, clouds that stream, flags fluttering, lawns of daffodils bobbing, crops bowing in great waves to the changing air pressure, leaves whirling in a vortex, the canopies of trees crashing, waves driven against the shore and the hair of a loved one blowing madly in the breeze… What sublime poetry awaits us on a windy day!
And so to choices: how will this drama be captured? A fast shutter speed will freeze movement; a slower one will emphasise it and lend an artful twist.
In order to control the amount of blur present in the scene by having some parts sharp and some not, you’ll find that a tripod is an invaluable accessory. Hammocks that hang from the tripod’s legs are available for not much money. When filled with ballast they’ll lend stability even in very gusty conditions.