How does that old saying go, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure?” I suspect that with landscape photography, you can easily rephrase it around weather. To be honest, I’ve never understood when I’ve heard photographers complain about bad weather and pine on about wanting “beautiful” conditions. That’s a sentiment I have never expressed. Perhaps that is a byproduct of spending so many years living in the Pacific Northwest. Sure, we get stretches of time where we have blue skies and warm temps. But with that weather comes exceptionally difficult shooting conditions thanks to the high contrast that direct sunlight brings.
“Bring on the overcast conditions,” has always been my motto. The more even the light, the better, as far as I’m concerned. And, sure, there have been times when I had to contend with rain, but that’s why I bring a bunch of microfiber clothes and am thankful for the robust weather sealing of my camera and lenses. The truth is that some of my favorite photos have been taken during dreary and inclement weather.
One of the reasons why I love photographing in bad weather is because I can get a certain dramatic quality in my images that no processing preset can ever replicate. There is a moodiness that overcast conditions and angry clouds offer. However, speaking of post-processing, I’ve found that moody weather photos are ideal for applying alternative stylization techniques, like split-toning. That flat gray throughout the image serves as an ideal façade for such techniques.
Another reason why I love photographing in bad weather is because of the challenges that it brings. There is a satisfaction that comes along with knowing that you had to trudge through terrible conditions to get a particular shot. It’s those very challenges that force you to really consider each photo you take and it’s often when I find some of my strongest strokes of inspiration.
So, the next time your weather app shows some rain and cloudy conditions in the forecast, consider grabbing your camera instead of cozying up on your sofa. I promise it’ll be worth the effort.