Getting the light/weather right

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Highergr0und Forum Member • Posts: 56
Getting the light/weather right

In looking at lots of landscape pics, it seems getting the changing variables correct are the key to amazing images - just wondering what resources out there help determine when and where to shoot.  What resources, etc are best for figuring out when you'll be getting things like dazzling sunrise/sunsets, the right light, the right amount of fog in an area, etc - basically the things that change day to day that result in a photo from going from boring to amazing.

peter826 Contributing Member • Posts: 660
Re: Getting the light/weather right
1

sunsetwx.com is one resource.  I've had it predict a good sunset a few times.

I think what happens more often is that the more you watch the weather, the better you get at predicting things.

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Gary from Seattle Veteran Member • Posts: 5,297
Re: Getting the light/weather right
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Clear/mostly clear skies are easy to forecast; then you just have to have a location in mind and know sunset/sunrise; the angle and rough elevation of the sun.

Trying to forecast some of the most spectacular lighting with bands of clouds or areas of fog is very problematic because the forecast resolution is still not there. Part of this is because modeling is only done at certain specific elevations. Weather balloons help to collect real time data and atmospheric profiles. Hence forecasts involving clouds/fog are essentially interpolations.

The Windy.com website probably has the best accessible information regarding approximation of clouds based on relative humidities.

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mfinley
mfinley Senior Member • Posts: 4,818
Re: Getting the light/weather right
1

Highergr0und wrote:

In looking at lots of landscape pics, it seems getting the changing variables correct are the key to amazing images - just wondering what resources out there help determine when and where to shoot. What resources, etc are best for figuring out when you'll be getting things like dazzling sunrise/sunsets, the right light, the right amount of fog in an area, etc - basically the things that change day to day that result in a photo from going from boring to amazing.

Experience and research. There are no apps to tell you about when something spectacular is going to happen. Knowing that in this month in this part of the world in a certain month this place tends to get foggy or misty when the weather changes from warm to cold in a day is the type of knowledge that is valuable. Knowing that after a storm this place will tend to have a brilliant sunrise the next morning is valuable.

Most of the time all you can do is try to stack your advantages as best you can by being at the place during the right time of day and see what happens, if you have the luxury going back for multiple days in a row helps your chances.

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Gary from Seattle Veteran Member • Posts: 5,297
Re: Getting the light/weather right

Gary from Seattle wrote:

Clear/mostly clear skies are easy to forecast; then you just have to have a location in mind and know sunset/sunrise; the angle and rough elevation of the sun.

Trying to forecast some of the most spectacular lighting with bands of clouds or areas of fog is very problematic because the forecast resolution is still not there. Part of this is because modeling is only done at certain specific elevations. Weather balloons help to collect real time data and atmospheric profiles. Hence forecasts involving clouds/fog are essentially interpolations.

The Windy.com website probably has the best accessible information regarding approximation of clouds based on relative humidities.

I would add that for locations near and a short time frame, just watching the sky, the time of day and Visible satellite images make a feasible expectation possible.

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avalvo Senior Member • Posts: 1,487
Re: Getting the light/weather right

Agree, you just need to get out.  Some of my best creations came on days when I did not think it would be good, but I went out anyway.

Also, going out in these  uncertain times will challenge you to make a shot, even though the light may not be what you expected.  You are there, so you learn to work the scene and new ideas, techniques emerge and make you better.

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hotdog321
hotdog321 Forum Pro • Posts: 20,913
Re: Getting the light/weather right

I'm a big believer in prior planning but I've found some of my favorite landscape photos came about because of unexpected "bad" weather. On one trip to Yosemite the weather was perfect and clear for the entire trip--and my photos were pretty boring. On an earlier trip, however, the weather was foggy and drizzly. I was cursing the weather until I started using the moody conditions and loved the shots.

Another time I visited Bryce Canyon just as a totally unexpected snow front blew through (in the middle of summer!) The fog and light dusting of snow was magical and made the "routine" red rock shots far more interesting.

Sure, I like to plan ahead, but I find my preconceived shots are often routine while the unexpected can result in some exciting photo opportunities.

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GCam Veteran Member • Posts: 9,356
Re: Getting the light/weather right

I always plan to go out every morning,  many times during the day, and every night.  I go to the same places, shoot a lot of the same things, while looking for other things to shoot, including cloud formations.  I hope to catch great sunrises and sunsets, and whatever comes in the form of clouds, etc. in between.    I meet a lot of strangers, and I meet a lot of the same people every day too, so it makes life more interesting.  gc

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