If there’s one thing you can count on in the UK, it’s the Great British elements dealing you a bum hand at the worst possible time. But while there are so many career areas and pastimes that tend to take a knock when Mother Nature throws a tantrum, photographers tend to be uniquely dependent on weather.
The simple fact of the matter is that if you have any kind of preconception by way of the landscape you wish to shoot and the ideal conditions at the time, there’s a pretty good chance that such conditions will elude you. Things never fail to take a turn for the worst when you least expect it, so it’s a good idea to expect the unexpected is something of an understatement.
However, when the folks at aspect2i.co.uk organise their own landscape photography workshops, their take on the whole subject is a little different. Rather than being thwarted by bad weather, they’re more in the habit of both preparing for an even embracing all weather conditions as and when they occur, having long-since discovered that the most stunning pictures of all can be found when and where you least expect them.
Tip One – Forget the Idea of ‘Bad’ Weather
First of all, it’s important to get out of the habit of thinking any type of weather is inherently bad. The only thing the weather does in terms of photography is present the photographer with a different kind of lighting to work with – lighting that can be compensated for with the right approach. If you play your cards right and learn to work in harmony with the weather as opposed to seeing it as your enemy, there’s every chance you’ll take home the shots of your career in the midst of a downpour just as you’d expect to with a blazing blue sky overhead.
Tip Two – Dress Appropriately
One of the main reasons why photographers end up abandoning their posts on poor weather days is because they simply haven’t’ dressed for the occasion. Living in the UK means accepting that a clear sky can transform into a downpour in no time at all, which means that even when you don’t expect you’ll need it, it’s a good idea to take a bag of waterproof clothing along with you. What’s really great about doing so is that very many of your fellow photographers will have packed up and gone home the moment the downpour began, leaving you free to come up with some truly stunning and wholly unique images.
Tip Three – Camera Protection
Looking after your camera is indeed a matter of importance, though these days isn’t hard to do even when the heavens are opening on you. First of all, you’ll need to make sure you have a good quality waterproof bag to store everything in as the last thing you want is for it to become flooded and unusable. In addition, there’s always the option of buying a branded waterproof housing or cover for your camera and lenses, but more often than not a universal rain-sleeve will do the same job for a fraction of the price.
Tip Four – Carry a Tripod
The lower lighting levels will make it important for you to use longer exposure times, which in turn warrants the use of a tripod. And as the whole thing will be battered by the wind and rain, you’ll need a tripod that’s not in the habit of swaying and wobbling about.
Tip Five – Go Black and White
If colour shots just aren’t coming out as you planned, black and white images can look particularly dramatic on darker, stormier days. So, if at any time you think things may be coming out a little more boring than you’d have liked, try removing the colour and see what happens.
Tip Six – Focus On the Foreground
Last but not least, if the landscape as a whole simply isn’t being presented interestingly enough in the current lighting and weather conditions, consider adding a little more focus to something in the foreground. From a simple patch of grass or a tree, to a manmade feature of any kind, make something closer to you the primary foreground interest and use the drama of the weather to create a stunningly mood background. You could also try the same with a super-slow shutter speed for even more drama.