Updated: Aug 19, 2022
Its happened, the end is here. In the blink of an eye everything has changed.
Dramatic click bait headline ? maybe a bit, but for many of us our beloved passion is now at an end, well for midweek anyway.
At the end of October the clocks went back and with it most of our chances to get out after work and sneak in a few images before the dark took hold.
Morning light was coming later and later too and the chance to get out before work is also fading at a remarkably fast rate.
The unspeakable has happened, we are now reduced to weekend landscape photographers, the struggle is very real. Allow me to elaborate.......
So mid week is out, you spend 5 days praying for good conditions on the weekend so you can get out and get your landscape photography fix and then disaster happens.
The jet stream moves in, the rain comes and the high winds and just like that your weekend is over.
You tell the other half that you have decided not to go out in order to spend some quality time with them (trying especially hard to score some extra points in order to keep next weekend free) come on, we've all done it !
Next weekend finally comes around and you can't wait, that is until the jet stream which has been out to sea all week decides its going to come back over the country just in time to spoil your weekend plans, and so the cycle goes on.
A couple of years ago this cycle happened non stop for around 7 weekends on the bounce, it was soul destroying, and sadly its looking like we might see similar conditions again.
The frustration is indescribable and your partner just doesn't get why you're a moody so and so all the time.
Your much needed weekend fix is exactly that, you need it to get by and deal with the daily prison that is the four walls of the office, its your escape and its being taken away from you.
So what can you do when this situation occurs ? Give up and let your passion turn to anger and frustration ? Or get out there and make the most of what you have and embrace the grey.
Being someone who loves nothing more than shooting well lit landscapes this is not an easy thing to force yourself to do.
Now if its absolute torrential rain with no signs of letting up and howling winds that could make a turbine think twice then I'm not suggesting that would be much fun.
But with bad weather often comes dramatic light, and that's what were all after at the end of the day isn't it ?
How many times have you been stuck at home looking out the window at non stop rain only for it to suddenly clear and golden light pours over the landscape ? You grab your camera and head out to the nearest "hot spot" only for the light to vanish and the torrential downpour to come back before you even got there ? I'm willing to bet quite a few times.
To make it worse you wait it out for a while and then call it a day, no sooner have you pulled in the driveway, kicked off your boots in disgust, sat down and boom, that light is back.
The only way you're going to capture this is to tough it out and be out there ! Now with todays waterproof clothing being of such a high standard there really is no bad weather for landscape photography, just poor clothing choices.
Staying comfortable outside in poor conditions is relatively easy now and the weather shouldn't ever really be an excuse not to go out, that does have a caveat though and that's dangerous weather.
Under no circumstances do I advocate putting yourself at any risk from the elements, this includes storms, high winds etc.... But without doubt the most dangerous of all, unpredictable seas.
This time of year can produce some seriously heavy swell and really unpredictable wave patterns and I have been caught myself by a rogue wave which cost me a camera and nearly my life. I now treat the sea with the utmost respect and never ever take a risk for a picture, it simply isn't worth it so please do stay safe.
It doesn't have to be about the rain either, next time the sky is looking grey and threatening get yourself down to the coast and shoot the sea thrashing around with menacing sky above it, it can be every bit as dramatic as the moments of light.
Grey days can be perfect for mono images too, or even long exposures giving everything a velvety smooth finish so give a dull day a bit of the big stopper treatment and enjoy the minimal look and experiment with it, you might just be surprised at what you can finish up with when the clouds in front look boring.
Conditions can often look like a complete write off but these are often the moments that produce the most dramatic colours as they contrast so well against dark backgrounds.
This day looked like a complete write off, that was until a small gap started opening up a few minutes before sunset and produced some intense colour and very dramatic moment, everything about the day had said stay at home its not worth going out, but forcing myself to go paid off with a nice image that I would have missed if I was sat at home.
It only takes one gap to let a crepuscular ray of light through in dark clouds and when they do finally pop through they always look amazing and are well worth holding out for. Not the easiest thing in the word to expose for as you can see my clipped highlights in the cloud itself but a decision had to be made on the overall balance of the image and I don't think it detracts from the scene too much.
This moment of light happened as an epic storm raged overhead, I had the camera all ready to go while sitting in the car, I got out in the rain and waited and just like that the light came and vanished and I was there to catch it, it really can be well worth going out in weather you would usually say isn't really worth shooting in for those brief moments when it is.
The whole point of this blog is to say embrace the doom & gloom of winter, it doesn't have to be the end of your landscape photography.
Sure it requires a lot more effort and also you have to be mentally strong to stick out the bad conditions but it can be so worth it.
And being outside has got to be better than sat in doing nothing hasn't it ?
Challenge yourself to make something out of nothing, it will make you up your game and work a lot harder to obtain a good result.
Anyone can capture an image of a pretty sunset, but it takes a special landscape photographer to shoot conditions that aren't optimal.
Which one are you.............
As always, Happy shooting.