When It Comes To Weather, Perfect Isn’t Always Prefect

I know photographers that only head out to make photos in what they feel is perfect weather conditions for the photos they want to make. If there is a chance of rain or even heavy overcast they stay at home and don’t go out. That is unfortunate because you miss out on a lot of opportunities. Sure, I have been disappointed when the weather takes a turn for the worse. But more often than not I come home with some interesting photos.

Trail in Shenandoah National Park
Trail in Shenandoah National Park

The forecast called for cloudy to mostly cloudy skies last Tuesday for Harrisonburg, VA. I knew that it was time to head up to Skyline Drive and Shenandoah National Park for the day! For most of us, when the forecast calls for cloudy skies, the clouds will be rather high in the sky. When you are on a mountain, cloudy skies can mean you will be in the clouds! And that is exactly what I wanted. I spent the day walking trails in the clouds.

Last Light of Day on Old Rag Mountain
The last light of day on Old Rag Mountain.

There was a break in the cloud cover but not for long. Plus, it depended on where you were on Skyline Drive. A few tenths of a mile could mean clear skies or staying in clouds. As I rounded a bend I could see Old Rag Mountain bathed in some nice golden light. I hurried to the next over look and got a photo just in time. A minute or two later, the light was gone.

As photographers we need to study more than just photography. Study the weather if you photograph outdoors. Look for changeable weather not just clear blue skies. Find conditions that will help enhance the photos that you want to make and get out there!

When the Fog Lifts and Other Conundrums

Have you ever planned a photo outing for a certain day and been disappointed by bad weather? Sure you have, we’ve all had that happen. What about having a day when the weather is less than stellar but still very nice for photos? Mind you, I don’t often hope for bad weather but when summer thunderstorms or a morning fog is predicted, I look forward to those days more than perfect weather.

For me, perfect weather conditions get boring. That’s right, boring! Give me an angry sky every now and then. Big dark clouds with lots of detail to photograph. Not the gray skies we usually get with bad weather. I’ll take some lightening or fog whenever it’s offered as well! I miss a good thunderhead rolling in just before sunset. Angry dark clouds with lightening out over the Gulf of Mexico. Once while I was in Key West, I went to the top of the building that I was staying in to photograph a thunderstorm rolling in. Great stuff!

The thing that gets me down more than anything else is when the “bad” weather lifts just before I can photograph it! OK, having a nice day go downhill fast because of bad weather is a bummer too. When the unusual weather turns nice that is really crushing. Spring is hopefully on it’s way and with it some interesting weather. Currently there is snow on the ground outside. It’s not much above freezing temperature wise, so I’m looking forward to spring showers.

Please, give me some weather I want to photograph, when I have time to photograph it! You probably already know the frustration of driving to a meeting, you have no time to spare and you see something that is begging to be photographed! Why do the photo gods taunt me! I carry a cameras with me all the time. So why is it that I get to watch very cool, interesting weather unfold right before me when I can’t photograph it?

So I will appreciate it, when I do photograph it!

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