Inclement Weather Photography


The sound of the alarm signals the coming of a new day. As its annoyance persists, the simultaneous pitter patter of raindrops paints a frown on your face. Today was the day you were psyched for early morning light to bathe your subject. Don’t despair. Successful shots can me made when inclement weather conditions exist.

RAIN: Rainy weather sets the stage for great images of kids splashing in puddles. Dress them in a yellow or red rain slicker and turn them loose. Kids love to play in the rain so let your pics reveal this. Bump up your ISO to obtain a fast enough shutter speed to freeze their frolicking and open your aperture to its widest setting. Other subjects that work well are close ups of rain drops on flowers or leaves, umbrella patterns in a city from a high vantage point, and images made through windows painted with drops and splashes of water.

Keep your gear dry and protected. Wear a poncho that has plenty of “storage” space to safeguard your camera and bag from the elements. When not shooting, tuck it inside the poncho. If you’re serious about shooting in the rain, get yourself a camera raincoat. They start in price from under $20.00, a small investment to protect your equipment. In a pinch, place the camera into a zip lock baggie and cut a small hole for the lens to stick through. This allows the camera to be ready at all times. Occasionally wipe the front of the lens to get rid of raindrops that may degrade the image. Always wipe the camera down with a dry towel before putting it away.

SNOW: Shooting in the snow presents terrific opportunities. Clutter is covered by a blanket of white that transforms the landscape into a pristine wonderland. Dress in layers to allow yourself hours of photographic fun.

There are two main concerns that need to be addressed when shooting in snow. The cold temporarily drains batteries of their charge. Always carry spares and swap them as necessary. Additionally, keep the camera inside your jacket when you’re not making pictures as it allows body heat to offset the draining effect. Proper exposure is the other concern. Snow can trick the meter and try to make your picture darker than it should be. Check your histogram and blinkies to be sure you get a wide range of tones but not clip either end. Use exposure compensation to darken or lighten the exposure accordingly. Make sure to reset the compensation to zero when you’re done.

FOG: Fog is a condition that can net moody and ethereal images. Foreground subjects becomes dominant while background elements recede into a wash of mist. The effect is both soothing and peaceful. Camera care concerns parallel those of shooting in the rain. Be sure to keep the camera and lens dry and periodically wipe them down with a towel. Don’t let the gray, cold, frost and mist get you down. Many memorable images await those who venture out into the “Land of Inclemency” armed with camera and determination.


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