Exploit Inclement Weather

Stormy conditions can yield opportunities to capture unique photos

Inclement weather allows a photographer to capture unique photos. The aftermath of a good rain leaves everything wet, reflective, puddle filled and fresh. A freshly fallen snow carpets the environment in a blanket of pristine white. An impending or clearing storm creates sky drama and imparts an ominous tone to the surroundings. Blue skies can be desirable and many subjects require them. But the next time a lack of one gets in your way, don't despair. Take advantage of the situation and work its magic.

Cherish the Clouds: Just like snowflakes, no two cloudy days are ever the same. This holds true for every type of cloud. On any two given days, cumulous, lenticular, stratus, or cirrus clouds always differ. If you're lucky, dramatic mammatus clouds will pay a visit. Conditions change quickly so it's essential to work fast - the drama doesn't last long. If clouds linger in the sky and the horizon is clear at sunrise or sunset, there's an excellent chance for great color. Learn how to read the skies when clouds appear. Go on line to get hourly forecasts to see when clouds are scheduled to either move in or out. Work these edges of the storms as they provide great conditions.

Use Raindrops: Water left behind from a good rain can be beneficial. Street photographers exploit reflections on rain soaked roads, dirt is washed away, colors are more saturated, and a sparkle is added to otherwise dull concrete. Look for puddles that reflect tall buildings, a colorful car, a dramatic mountain peak, or anything else you want to photograph. Get low and close to make the reflection the primary point of view. Don't overlook the subtleties of rain drops. Random patterns left behind make great macro subjects. Move in close with a macro lens to show them off. Autumn leaves are a favorite but don't limit yourself to just the obvious subjects. Move in close on just about any subject and a whole new world of photography is at your fingertips.

The Serendipitous Surprise: Luck more often favors those who persist. When you come across a lucky situation, take full advantage. For instance, it seldom rains in the desert but when it does, it comes alive. Realizing this, photograph everything you see. If you come from a wet climate you may not think rain is a big deal so you take it for granted. This could be a huge mistake. The same holds true for the Pacific Northwest in the winter. Get out on those rare sunny days and take advantage of the conditions. Finally, don't overlook the virtues of fog. As it roll in and then recedes, no two moments are alike. Be patient and when everything falls into place, grab a few quick pics.

Visit www.russburdenphotography.com for information about his nature photography tours.

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