If you go out to take landscape photos with a certain type of weather in mind, you could be sorely disappointed if the forecast was wrong. Some people think that perfect weather is required for the best landscape photography, but that isn’t necessarily true. Some of the best, most striking images have come from photographers who took the chance even in bad weather. So that you can always get the images you wanted, you should learn a few tips and tricks to working with the weather, no matter what it may be.
Tips for getting better landscape photos in bad weather
Get in the Right Frame of Mind
The first thing you need to do is get in the right frame of mind. If you go out the door assuming that the weather is too bad for good photography, then chances are you will be disappointed with the shots you take. You have to assume that you will be able to take good pictures. There is a simple mantra you need to repeat to yourself every time you get frustrated with the weather: “there are no bad photography days”. Tell yourself this every time and you can start the landscape photography session on the right foot.
Taking Pictures in the Rain
Rain can make you feel miserable if you stand outside in it trying to take a picture. Because of this, some people see the rainfall and immediately put their cameras away. Don’t be one of these people. Here is what you need to do when you want to take dramatic shots in the rain:
- Wear the right clothes. You don’t need to be drenched and miserable just to get the image.
- Protect your equipment. There are specialty cases for your camera that will protect it from water. Never take your camera in the rain without it. Additionally, you will need a waterproof camera bag.
- Make aperture a priority when shooting in the rain so that you can get the best images more quickly. Remember that light will be poor so you will also need to adjust your ISO beforehand.
- Use manual focus. Autofocus can quickly become confused when it doesn’t know what to do with raindrops.
Capture Motion in Clouds
When you walk outdoors and the clouds are racing across the sky, you may not immediately see the possibilities in this. The higher winds and possibility of storms to come may keep you indoors when there is actually a great way to use these things to your advantage. You can easily capture the motion of the clouds for extremely dramatic and striking images. To do this, you will need a camera (of course), a tripod, and a neutral density filter.
You will need to use a very slow shutter speed to capture the movements of the clouds, so it is important to always keep the camera on a tripod. It would be ideal to use a cable release so that you can avoid camera shake. The ND filter will ensure that you don’t lose detail in the image even in this specific scenario.
To accurately capture the motion, you need to take several photos in a row. Ideally, for racing clouds, this would include up to ten different exposures at 9 or 10 seconds each. Of course, if the sun is still out, then you may have to adjust this. When you combine all of the images, you will create a misty, moving effect to the clouds. This is especially useful if you are taking pictures of the ocean or other bodies of water as well.
Bad weather doesn’t mean you can’t take good quality landscape photos. Instead, it opens up a whole new world of opportunities if you just face the challenge with the right tools and frame of mind.
Michael Greene is a professional landscape photographer based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Take a tour of his professional collection of landscape and travel photography from the Pacific Coast to the East Coast at WildMoments.net.