Being a landscape photographer in the UK has its fair share of pros and cons, though most would probably agree that the Great British weather often has a habit of raining on the parade…quite literally. Of all the various career paths and professions out there, it’s safe to say that photographers can be uniquely influenced by and in some cases dependent on the weather.
Chances are that whatever the type of weather it is you need on any one day, fate will deal you a bum hand with the exact opposite. What’s more, the UK is world-famous for its ever-changing weather conditions which often result in near-hourly shifts of the most dramatic nature that are both unpredictable and inconvenient to say the very least.
All this being said however, there are those among the industry who believe that the only thing spoiling it for so many photographers bummed out by the weather are their own attitudes. According to the experts at Aspet2i for example, weather conditions may represent challenges in some respects but are at the same time something of a unique privilege for those lucky enough to live in a country that gets just about every type of weather there is.
Bad Weather – There’s No Such Thing
So first of all, the most important thing to take on board is the fact that there is no such thing as ‘bad’ weather – it just does not exist. If you’re looking at things from the perspective of a professional photographer, then what you’re really interested in more than anything else is light. Different weather conditions create different kinds of lighting conditions, which across the board can be embraced and utilised for stunning shots with the correct approach. In fact, it’s often safe to say that some of the most stunning and dramatic landscape shots imaginable can only be taken when framed by a dramatic sky or rather turbulent weather conditions on the whole, so who’s to say anything but a sunny day is ‘bad’?
If the weather suddenly takes a turn for the worse and within three minutes has you soaked to the bones and freezing cold, you of course will probably find it in your best interests to go home. You might miss out on some amazing post-storm shots, but at least you’ll avoid hypothermia. This is why along with making sure you’ve got all the right gear with you to take the best shots you can, you need to make sure you look after your own interests with the necessary clothing and accessories for every weather. Can you say for sure it won’t rain by lunchtime? Of course not – even the weathermen can’t get it right – so in the interest of not having to quit early and miss out, be sure to dress for the occasion – any occasion.
Protect Your Camera
Just to follow on the above point for a moment, it’s of course also of key importance to make sure that a sudden cloudburst doesn’t destroy your equipment, so invest in the necessary protection for your hardware too. Rain sleeves are great and won’t cost you a fraction of the cash you’d spend on a waterproof housing for your camera and lenses.
Kill the Colour
When the weather really takes a turn for the worst and robs the landscape of any of its usual colourful brilliance, respond in kind by switching to black and white shots. There are so many instances in which the real drama and power of unsettled weather conditions can be both captured an intensified simply by switching from colour to black and white. It’s a great way of transforming what may otherwise look like rather dull and depressing shots into pieces of pure poetry.
And finally, if things are looking particularly gloomy in the distance and visibility is becoming a problem, set your sights a little closer to home with a focal point you can then frame with the ultra-dramatic backdrop. Taking long-distance shots of the horizon may be out of the question, but that fallen tree that once looked so dull may have suddenly been transformed into a focal point of absolute awesomeness. It’s simply a case of turning your attention to what you can see as opposed to what’s now totally out of view, using the latter to frame the former for the kind of results you’ll probably be blown away by…perhaps literally, in extreme cases!