Bad Weather, Good Photos


You may have heard it before: bad weather makes for good photos. It's not that bad weather is the subject, in most cases it's not unless perhaps you're a storm chaser. The weather sets the mood for the image, adds another layer to the scene, acts as a secondary subject. However, just like getting up early to be on location for sunrise, being out photographing in bad weather isn't always fun, but if you get a great image it's worth it.

This scene from the Cooper River Bridge in Charleston, South Carolina needed a good backdrop. It could have been puffy white clouds or a stormy sky, but neither a clear blue sky or blah overcast would have been any good. As I walked up the bridge the ominous storm clouds continued to build. Things were looking good: strong lines, excellent background. Couldn't get better. Then the storm broke and down came the hail. Yes, hail, and lots of it. And this was in the spring. After the hail pelted me, the rain poured down. There I was in a t-shirt with a camera around my neck. It didn't take long to become completely soaked.

While I hadn't been thinking this would turn into an actual storm, I also didn't turn back when the storm clouds continued to darken. Getting wet didn't bother me, and my camera has weather sealing so it can take the wet weather. It turned out that once the storm was on top of me the clouds were less interesting. They were no longer dark and brooding, they quickly transitioned to blah gray. It was the long walk back down the bridge where I took most of the punishment from the storm. By the time I reached my car the storm had passed.

So get out there in the bad weather. Though sometimes it helps to be a little better prepared.

Charleston, South Carolina Workshop: March 26-29