Bad Weather = Good Photography
All outdoor photographers, but especially landscape shooters are at the mercy of the weather. Every shot stands and falls with the behaviour of low and high pressure systems. In some parts of the world the weather is more or less predictable and stable, in others weather forecasts can’t really be trusted and conditions can change from beautiful to abysmal in minutes.
For the photographer this either means going into hiding until the winds have died down, the rain has eased and the sun comes out again or go out and face the elements.
In a country like Ireland with its changeable and unpredictable weather patterns you learn very quickly to embrace the bad and ugly and make the best of it.
When the wind is blowing and the rain is pouring down the first choice is to retreat to the woods. Woodlands not only provide some protection from the elements they can also be at their most photogenic in bad weather. Wet foliage and soaked mosses seem to emit a glow that can add that special something to an image. An important tool here is the polarizing filter. It both increases contrast and saturation and controls reflections from the wet foliage.
Constantly moving branches and undergrowth can be a problem in high winds. You can however use this to your advantage and deliberately choose long exposure times to blur the scene. If you have a static counterpoint in the scene like a rock or tree trunk this can create interesting images. Exposure times depend on the strength of the wind and the effect you want to achieve. Anything around the 4 second mark usually give a slight blurry effect that gives a sense of movement in the foliage. Longer exposures of 20 seconds or longer (even minutes) remove all detail and result in a more abstract image.
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