A large part of nature and outdoor photography is patiently waiting with your vintage camera bags for the right conditions, and with summer very much behind us at this point, there is a greater chance of bad weather than good.
This needn’t be a bad thing at all, of course. Weather is a huge part of the composition of many shots, and overcast skies can create a particularly unique and ominous mood that can fit certain kinds of shots better than a clear blue sky would have done.
Much like camera exposure, lighting and the use of negative space, weather is an effect you can wield to your advantage. Here are some top tips as to how.
Choose Subjects That Fit
Overcast days are obviously not ideal for taking motivational sunrise shots, but they actually work perfectly for some types of subjects, particularly forest scenes and waterfalls, as the subject contrasts beautifully with the more sullen sky.
Try to use a polarizer when shooting during actual rain, however, as it will remove the glare from wet surfaces and enhance the colours of your subjects.
Shoot At Twilight
The main problem with poor weather is poor quality light. Grey light works for some subjects but can look washed out for others. However, at twilight in the early morning and early evening, you get a lot of blue light filtered through the clouds, which gives a storm a dramatic colour scheme.
If you plan on doing this, be sure that your white balance is set to either daylight or cooler and turn off automatic white balance adjustment, as your camera might “helpfully” return the scene to its natural, neutral grey.
Go For The Big Shot
If you are able to or have time to, try and drive far enough to reach the edge of the bad weather.
This is a huge gamble and one that really ought to be planned using an accurate weather forecast, but the rewards are huge and create some of the most spectacular weather photography imaginable.