In Like a Lion...Out Like a Lamb!
March is a month that is famous…or maybe infamous…for its unusual weather in many areas of the United States. In fact there are a couple of common sayings concerning this this month’s weather patterns.
March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers. or... March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb!
The unpredictable and sometimes unusual weather patterns associated with this time of changing seasons was brought home recently here in the Midwest.
Within a few days we have had near record high temperatures, followed by several inches of snow, which gave way to warmer temperatures again...then that was followed by fog, sleet, hail and thunderstorms, complete with tornado warnings all on the same day!
OK you might be asking…what does your crazy weather have to do with my photography?
Glad you asked…I mentioned it because March with all its weather madness and fluctuations is a great time for you to take some interesting weather photos…and taking weather photos can be both fun and challenging.
There is something awe inspiring when powerful storms are in the air and being able to witness and even capture some of that majesty and power through photography can be a great experience.
So without further ado…here are some quick weather photography tips for you to keep in mind this month as you are out and about.
Stormy Weather Photography Tips
1. Embrace the weather don’t fight it. This is especially important if you are traveling and the weather does not cooperate. Look for the extraordinary scenes that can come up with the changing weather.
2. Keep up to date on the weather forecast and always be on the lookout for those scenes and locations where a bank of fog or some other type of weather change could give your photo that magical, mystical look. That way when the chance comes and fog is in the forecast you can be prepared to capture that picturesque scene.
3. Stormy weather can present changing light conditions that can be hard to expose for. For best results use the exposure compensation feature to quickly adjust your exposure to what best captures the scene. One easy way of doing that is by using the exposure compensation bracketing feature, if your camera has one. That allows you to take a series of photos while slightly overexposing for one and under exposing for another. This gives you three photos taken at slightly different exposures to play with and see which exposure captures the mood of that scene.
4. While it might be tempting to stay at home on a rainy day, it can also provide some great photographic opportunities. The rain can help bring out the colors of the scene and provide you with lots of interesting reflections and patterns. Of course don’t forget the chance of capturing a great picture of a rainbow at the end of the storm. If you see the storm clouds starting to break up, note the position of the sun and turn your back to it as rainbows will normally appear on the side of the storm that is towards the sun.
5. Speaking of rainbows a circular polarizing filter can help saturate the colors of the rainbow. Another trick is to use the exposure compensation to under-expose the picture by a small amount. Again exposure bracketing can help here as well.
6. Stormy weather also provides many opportunities to try using different shutter speeds to see what type of effect you will get and how the scene can change based on a few simple adjustments to your camera.
OK…are you ready to get out and take some pictures the next time the unpredictable and ever changing March weather provides you with a great chance to take some cool weather related photos?
If so then be sure to be safe because as beautiful as those storm clouds can be they can also be very dangerous.
Here a few quick tips to help you stay safe no matter what the weather is like.
1. Be aware of your surroundings. If it is raining be aware of the possibility of flash flooding. If you are photographing an approaching lightning storm be aware of things like fences, etc. that can conduct a strike from miles away.
2. If you are taking pictures of a lightning storm at night be on the watch for animals or even humans that might pose a threat.
3. In wet and rainy conditions have some type of cover for your camera to keep it dry. For years I used one made of an old heavy raincoat that did a relatively good job even if it did not look that great. Of course there are also several well-made rain covers on the market today. I bought a set of fairly set of fairly in-expensive covers that I am ready to try out this year and put to rest my trusty homemade rain cover.
4. What if you don’t have a rain cover…you can make one from a garbage bag in a pinch…or simply look for ways to keep your camera dry. You can try taking photos out of your car or even better look for some type of overhead cover that will keep you dry but also offer a good view of your subject or the approaching storm.
Hope you enjoyed this month's Newsletter!