Find the Right Light by Embracing Bad Weather

By Lane Erickson, Photographer

“Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.” – George Eastman

Great light is essential to great photography.  Still, like everyone else, when the bad weather rolls in, I feel like staying in bed.  However, when I put my feet on the floor suppressing my natural laziness and go out into the storm, I almost always come back with AWESOME photos!

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The elements of bad weather including fog, rain, snow, clouds, wind etc., add dimension and originality to photographs.  The light can change quickly in bad weather offering a variety of views of your subject.  Also, very few other photographers are willing to suffer the elements for their photography.  When you go out, that alone sets you apart and provides opportunities that others will never have.

Here are a few photographs I created in bad weather with an explanation of how they were made.

The story of how this photograph was made in bad weather is in a different post here.  I hope you enjoy reading about that adventure.
The mountain on the opposite side of the valley I live in.  This was a unique late fall day when snow fell up in the high elevations but the colors of fall and warmth were still in the lower parts of the valley.  The edge of this changing weather was fascinating and provided a beautiful perspective of the changing seasons.  Nikon D5100, Nikkor AF 300mm; 1/125s @ f/5.6.
Two views of light rays striking the mountains in the valley where I live. My daughter and I watched the light change for 20 or so minutes. We were amazed at how different the light looked as time passed. Nikon D5100, Nikkor 70-200mm @ 70mm; 1/125s @ f/8.
My family and I were vacationing on the Oregon coast.  Fog was a constant.  I was frustrated because I couldn’t get the images I had imagined of tall light houses against a perfect blue sky.  Rather than give up I decided to try and capture the environment around the light house including the tall grass that lined the pathway to the light house.  This became one of my favorite photos from the entire trip.  It would never have happened without the fog. Nikon D200, Tokina 28-75mm at 28mm; 1/2500s @ f/2.8.
The story around this photo is in an earlier blog here.
Rainy, rainy, rainy day.  Really a constant drizzle of rain with some downpours thrown in.  I focused on the rain drops on some roadside leaves.  Nikon D5100, Tokina 28-75mm @ 75mm; 1/20s @ f/5.6.

I’ve learned through my own experiences that bad weather provides awesome light.  When we Find the Right Light, we can create great photographs!  So next time it rains, or snows or is foggy, or whatever the bad weather may be, get out there and create some unique and beautiful art.

‘There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are.”  – Ernst Haas


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