Bad Weather – Good Photo Ops
Most of May was stellar, but the final week took a decided dip toward crummy. The month closed with smoke from forest fires blowing in from the Kenai Peninsula, followed by rain, windstorm, and temperatures cool enough to drop snow on mountains to the 1,000 foot level. Needless to say, interest in photography tours waned along with the warm weather – so I filled my time doing what any self-respecting photographer would, I went shooting.
Why? Well, early in my photography career I encountered the “try a different point of view” mantra. It’s a phrase tossed about in the field to the point of being banal. Still, there’s a great deal of wisdom in it for anyone with serious photographic ambitions. There is nothing like a fresh perspective to bring interest to an otherwise mundane subject.
Along these lines is another tip not offered nearly as often, but no less valuable. Try shooting in subpar weather. There are usually plenty of photographers out happily clicking on bluebird days, but the moment a raindrop or snowflake falls, they pack it in and miss some of the most interesting scenes nature has to offer. Even overcast days can have their charms. Clouds act like a giant soft box in the sky, diffusing light, softening shadows and pumping up vibrancy. Also, certain subjects like waves and cascading creeks are often best photographed on low light days. Raindrops can add a lot of visual interest to flowers, leaves and grasses, and some of the most dramatic lighting occurs after a storm.
Don’t worry too much about your gear getting wet. Most cameras are weather sealed and can stand up to a bit of moisture. Just use a rain sleeve in driving rain and after shooting in freezing weather, seal the camera in a plastic bag before bringing it inside to keep condensation from forming. Also, save up those silicon packets that come in shoe boxes, pill bottles etc. and drop them in your camera bag. They’ll help soak up any excess moisture.
So next time you look outside and see rain/fog/snow rolling in. Grab your gear and get out there! Bad weather isn’t all that bad.
Panning practice on a rainy day in Anchorage. The weather didn’t stop the bicyclists either, making for great all weather photography ops.
Alaska Photo Treks offers sunset tours year round. Sunset Photo Safari operates May- September. Twilight Photo Tour runs September-April. Departure times for both tours are dependent on sunset, which at this latitude changes dramatically throughout the year. The times for each week are posted on the respective pages for each tour. Winter months also include the northern lights viewing adventure, Anchorage Aurora Quest. Explore Alaska Photo Treks to learn more about these excellent, instructional day tours and multi-day tours and workshops.