I recently heard a photographer remark that he hadn’t been out taking photographs for some time due to bad weather, stating that it would be good to have optimal weather conditions all the time for photography.
I can understand his sentiments.
Some photographers find themselves to be very uninspired in certain weather conditions. They like to have good light and when this is unavailable they tend to despair of getting any decent photographs. And if you live in a climate that has very long dark evenings, a lot of rain or just constant grey skies, it can be difficult to feel inspired.
Despite this, I do feel that as photographers we must embrace all weather conditions for photography if we are to continue to get out with our camera on the many days when the weather is less than optimal.
I have come up with some reasons to support my belief.
#1. A diversity of weather conditions challenges our photography skills and helps us to think more creatively.
If we had ‘ideal' weather conditions all the time our photographs would all look the same. There would be no challenge, no need to think differently or accommodate seemingly adverse conditions.
There would be uncertainty, mystery, compromise, variety, opportunities to develop creativity, resulting in huge rewards in terms of images, and would most photographers not take this over ‘perfect' every time?
#2. ‘Good’ weather does not mean the same thing to every photographer.
If we don’t experience all weather conditions we won’t know whether we actually prefer shooting in a woodland after a rain shower to capturing yet another ‘easy’ golden hour image.
We won’t know how creative we can become on a frosty morning or experience the challenges of achieving proper exposure when photographing in snow.
If we don’t embrace all weather conditions for photography we risk selling ourselves short, opting for easy over inspirational and settling for images that don’t stand out from the crowd or give us that ‘wow' factor.
#3. If we don’t embrace all weather conditions, we may miss the best weather conditions.
If we don’t go out on a dull, grey, overcast da we may miss that brief moment when the sun breaks through the clouds.
If we don’t go out because it’s been raining all day and the light is poor we may miss the way rain water glistens on leaves and flowers and gives them a beautiful glow, perfect for macro photography.
If we don’t go out because it’s too cold we may miss how the early morning frost makes patterns on the hedges or how the fog lingers among the trees, making for great abstract images.
I have missed many potential photographs by staying at home when the weather is ‘bad’, and I know this because of the times that I embraced the weather conditions, went out with my camera, and was rewarded with some memorable images.
When we look out at grey skies, dark and gloomy conditions, or even harsh summer sunlight, I think we can all be tempted to decide that the conditions are not right for photography.
But I would urge you to think again.
Think about how those grey skies could add mood and atmosphere to an image, how a rain shower could leave behind beautiful hanging raindrops, how a clear blue sky and harsh sunlight might open up the possibility of getting interesting macro images, or provide great contrast between light and shadow for street images.
Think about trying moody black and white images when there’s drama in a cloudy sky or creating a spooky woodland scene on a misty day.
The possibilities are endless when we embrace all weather conditions.
All we need is a little bit of imagination and proper clothing!