Weather changes can mean good pictures


Stormy skies–You can apply a gradient under filter in Photoshop to get this image or you can use a neutral density graduated filter over the lens. I like getting it “in camera.”

When you live in Southern California where the weather is generally boring, many photographers forget to get outside with their cameras when it rains.

When else will you get the different looking vistas in your landscapes?

Let me guess, you’re one of those who shoots your subjects on chromakey backdrops in the studio and then you pluck them out and place them on a different layer in Photoshop on a background of their choosing.
No, it’s not cheating.

It’s just not as much fun.

It’s probably not the reason why you picked up that camera in the first place.

Photographers I know love their craft so much, they do practically anything for a picture.
Being outdoors when it’s stormy, if you and your gear are well protected, can give you a very different perspective on your surroundings.

Cumulonimbus clouds are rare in these parts.

When you do see them, they seldom linger.

When I was at the paper, the 1st rains was sort of fun because there was some competition to see who could come up with a weather picture that would grace the cover of the newspaper.

The trouble is, if the rains linger past a few days at a stretch, then it can become an ordeal  of being sent out to look for rain pictures and flooding.

Before long, I wouldn’t have pair of dry shoes to wear to work.

Inevitably some editor will suggest the very original idea that someone drive up the local mountains and get pictures of folks playing in the snow.

A drive up the local mountains can take over 2 hours assuming you’re adept at putting chains on your tires.

It also assumes you know to put those chains on the right set of tires –the front or back ones which give you traction.

Equipment considerations

It’s a challenge for digital cameras and things electronic to work well in the cold, especially if you plan on shooting for extended periods outdoors.


Spare batteries are a must.

Gloves are also a must.

A chemical heat pack can keep your hands nice and warm if you plan to be out for long periods of time.

Keeping the camera inside your jacket or coat will help prolong the useful life of your battery too.

Always put your camera and gear in a bag before bringing it indoors from the cold.

The condensation on your camera and lens will render it unusable because of the fogging until it warms up to room temperature.

If you plan to shoot indoors in the winter, do not leave your gear in the trunk, keep it with you in the cab so that it will be close to room temperature.

If you forget and it’s been left overnight in the trunk, then you should leave your camera in bag and let it warm to room temperature gradually before opening the bag.

One of the biggest hassles about working in the elements is whether to use an umbrella or wear a raincoat to keep yourself dry.

I favor the raincoat both for me and my cameras.

If you’ve ever had to wrestle with an umbrella in strong wind or whenever large vehicle like a bus goes by, you’ll know how terrifying it can be especially if you don’t want to drop your precious camera.

In pouring rain, just forget about using flash. Water and electricity don’t play well together.

Even if you can get your flash to go off, it’s going to light the droplets of water especially if it’s on-camera.

I generally don’t change lenses in those situations. I use 2 bodies, one with a wide angle zoom and the other a telephoto zoom.

If you use a point and shoot camera, use one of those clear shower caps that hotels provide their guests.

The clear ones allow you to see your camera controls.

4 thoughts on “Weather changes can mean good pictures”

  1. DeeAnn,
    I have to sympathize with you having to shoot it. Make sure your feet don’t get wet.

    I know I’m extremely miserable when that happens. Don’t forget to bring towels to dry off and a flask of a hot beverage.

  2. Have my Lowe’s & Henry’s plastic bags ready for shooting United Way Tinsel Tri in southwest Hemet Sunday morning. Hoping rain will stop by then. Sadly wind is always a factor on that side of town, mittens with cut off fingertips necessary along with fleece layers topped by rain coat, as you pointed out Peter.
    Plastic bags taped onto hoods is important, they are long enough to cover camera bodies.
    Wish me no rain!

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