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5 Reasons Why Bad Weather Days are the Best Times for Photography

Bad Weather Photography Equals High Impact  Photos

Remember those days when you looked out your window and wished that the weather was better so you could get out and take some fantastic photographs? Do rainy, windy, stormy days stifle your photographic ambitions? I’ll give you five reasons why bad weather is not all doom and gloom for photographers.

bad weather photography with dark clouds

The things that keep most people indoors on bad weather days are the very things that have creative photographers heading for the great outdoors. Grab a rain jacket, brave the elements AND take your camera – these can be the best times for photography to capture something memorable.

Let’s look these five reasons to appreciate bad weather, and what they can offer you for photographs that get that second look.

  • Dark and unpredictable clouds
  • Powerful winds
  • Rain and drizzle
  • Snow
  • Fog

#1 CLOUD PHOTOGRAPHY FOR DRAMATIC IMAGES

Clouds can be brooding, moody and sinister – a great backdrop for photographing old buildings, new skyscrapers, and trees. While you’re out in the storm, also think about shooting just the clouds by themselves, to create a “cloud bank” of images to use as drop-ins for compositing with other images. Clear blue skies are pretty boring in most photos. With your catalog of cloud shots you’ll never have a bland sky photo again.

Low hanging clouds can add a really mysterious quality to your images. Think black and white photography when considering ways to take advantage of clouds. You can use post-processing techniques to accentuate the various layers of the cloud formations to add even more drama to your images.

In this shot of a storm moving in over the Bugaboo mountain range, I used Google Nik Silver Efex Pro and the Structure setting to add tonal definition to the clouds to create atmosphere.

bad weather photography stromy clouds

#2 WIND PHOTOGRAPHY FOR ARTISTIC EXPOSURES

bad weather photography- windy daysWindy days provide you with all you need to make excellent motion studies for long exposures – tall grasses flowing like waves, tress swaying wildly, leaves trembling and dancing full of motion. Waves on lakes become whitecaps, perfect for those milky long exposure waterscapes.

Even though still photographs capture a single moment, you can achieve great impact when you capture the residue of motion in a single frame. High impact daytime long exposure photographs need movement to be successful, and when the wind is blowing, things are moving. Capture this in a single frame and you have an instant “wow” shot.

Use a neutral density filter to slow your shutter so that it captures the motion created by the breeze. Use a tripod for your wind shots to make sure that whatever is not moving in your image stays nice and sharp. The contrast of solid and fluid is a powerful creative technique.

#3 RAINY DAY PHOTOGRAPHY FOR COLOR AND SPECIAL EFFECTS

badweatherphotography-rainstreaks

Rain is awesome for artistic and creative photos.

When it’s wet outside, colors become deeper, richer and more saturated. This provides you with a way to look at the great outdoors in a “different light.”  Observe how flat and lifeless colors appear on an overcast day. But add some rain and the colors really pop!

Rain photography gives you hundreds of subjects for creative artistic photos using reflections and ripples in puddles, lakes and other water bodies. A wet rainy day gives you macro photography opportunities, by providing you with drops, ripples, and rivulets, perfect in the flat, even light of a rainy day. Use rain streaks on windows as art effects to make high impact abstract images.

badweatherphotography-raindrops

badweatherphotography-rainclouds

#4 SNOW PHOTOGRAPHY

Gently falling snowflakes in photography can add an additional element of emotion to add more impact to your images – who hasn’t felt a little shudder in the blustery cold? It can be used to create a sense of realism in a photo, especially in street photography.

Heavy falling snow adds an instant texture to your images. Colors appear softer, and less vibrant as they compete with the white of the flakes. I find it adds an instant painterly effect to most images – especially those with lots of natural colors.

badweatherphotography-snow

#5 FOG PHOTOGRAPHY

Fog – moody and high impact scenic shots, great for storytelling, and it can be used as a “backdrop” to hide distracting backgrounds to isolate your subject.  I especially like fog photography because it adds an instant pastel effect to your images, which can make for stunning fine art photography.

badweatherphotography-fog

SURPRISE BENEFITS OF BAD WEATHER PHOTOGRAPHY

If you’ve endured the rain and the wet, chances are you’ll be rewarded handsomely for your efforts and patience.  You’ll have captured some rare and uncommon moments that most people never attempt. Because luck favors the prepared mind, you may also get really lucky. You’re outdoors, you have all your gear, and you are shooting. In amongst all those dramatic bad weather photographs you capture, you may find something truly wondrous in the very next frame.

badweatherphotography-opportunity

If you have any questions or comments please leave them below, and do share your bad weather stories and images as well.

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Alex Morrison

Alex Morrison is a professional fine art and nature photographer, accredited by The Professional Photographers of Canada. She was the Canadian Photographic Artist of the Year in 2009. She teaches photography, runs workshops and online classes on fine art and nature photography, as well as infrared and iphone photography. Her educational website with photography tips is at nature-photography-central.com. View her art photography portfolio here. Alex has a coupon code for her Infrared Post Processing e-book, use DPSTKS to save $12.00.