This can mean the difference between ‘meh’ and ‘WOW’. This is especially true when shooting landscapes in highly photographed areas.
When most everyone else’s images look the same yours can be truly above the rest just by adding in a little meteorological flair.
There are a number of weather apps that you can install on your smartphone that will help you anticipate cloudy, foggy, rainy, snowy, or otherwise interesting weather days. ExpertPhotography recommends Weather Underground (iOS | Android | Windows Phone), as it’s easy to use and gives you updated information of what the weather will be like at very specific times and locations.
Braving the Storm: Thunderstorm Photography
More often than not, the most common weather-related drama you will encounter is rain-related.
Rain and storm clouds add instant interest to virtually any scene and it’s especially true when it comes to landscape photography. They completely change the ambient light in the scene, and add large shapes and textures to what would otherwise be a blank sky.
Instead of having the sky as a blank background, you may well find the subject of your image there in the form of an imposing cumulonimbus cloud (sometimes called a ‘thunderhead’). These aren’t the most common of subjects (some storm-chasing photographers hunt them like wild game), and when found, they are impressive.
When the sky turns mean, the entire mood of the photograph changes. What was once a cheery and upbeat sunny meadow can become a brooding and dark scene with tons of emotion.
Tips for shooting in stormy weather:
When large clouds roll in, balance their visual weight with the objects in the frame, and compose your shot so that the clouds add contrast to foreground and background elements.
Try a wide angle lens. Shooting at wider angles (shorter focal length) gives a sense of smallness to the viewer compared to the storm.
Protect your camera and lens! Only take your lens cap off to compose, focus, and make the exposure. Use a quality microfiber lens cloth to dry the lens face of any raindrops and consider a low-cost rain cover.