How to take amazing landscape images in stormy weather.

Endure the Bad Weather for Fantastic Fall Photographs

Sep 21, 2021

The fall season in the mountains is a wild weather ride. One moment you'll be peeling off the layers enjoying the warmth of the beaming sun, and the next, you'll be running from pelting raindrops or caught in a snow flurry. Dramatic weather is often around every corner.

But laugh it off, my friend, because, "Bad weather makes for good photography." Ansel Adams. 

Driving directly into storms seems a bit counter-intuitive when others are (probably sensibly) running for cover. Still, with the right gear, good timing, and a positive attitude, nature can put on quite the spectacular show! 

ISO 31 16mm f22 0.5sec

Let's chat about the right gear for stormy fall weather. I agree that standing out while cold rain or snow pelts down on me is not really my preference for the weather, but when I am, my must gear is: 

1. A water and windproof jacket and rain pants. 

2. Thin gloves to keep my hands warm.

3. Chemical hand warmers are also a must-have for me too and help keep my hands extra toasty! 

4. An umbrella to keep me and my camera dry. 

5. A rain sleeve for my camera. I highly recommend that you keep a rain sleeve in your camera bag at all times. They are light, relatively inexpensive and do a great job of keeping cameras and lenses dry. 

6. A small microfiber cloth for wiping raindrops off your lens between shots. 

7. A large microfiber cloth for drying off damp gear. 

These extras are worth the added weight as they will help you successfully capture stormy weather images before, during and after that storm! 

Now let's cover good timing. First, I'll agree that some landscape photography is about being in the right place at the right time, but there are steps you can take to set yourself up for success. 

Learn to monitor the weather in your favourite landscape locations. From experience, I know that my favourite months to take advantage of storms moving through the Candian Rockies are usually the summer months, including early June through late September. Our fall season, mid-September through the beginning of October, is typically a great time to capture fast-moving bad weather storms that leave great light and exceptional mood in their wake. 

ISO 800, 70mm, f10, 1/320ss

I also use Windy. This APP is a favourite for predicting what weather will show and how quickly it'll move through a landscape location. It's so good that I feel confident driving off into storms knowing what's waiting for me hour by hour. 

Last but not least is a positive attitude. That, my friend, is your responsibility. Sometimes it sucks out there. Sometimes you don't get what you want. Sometimes, actually often, it isn't epic. However, there's always something beautiful to be discovered. So keep your head up and your mind open to the possibilities present right before you, waiting to be photographed! Now get out there and enjoy the fall season!

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