Video: Turning bad weather into great photos


posted Tuesday, February 28, 2023 at 2:00 PM EDT


Benjamin Franklin famously said, "…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." Landscape photographers might as well add "bad weather" to Franklin's list. But bad weather need not lead to bad photos. Photographer Andy Mumford offers practical, field-tested advice to provide landscape photographers with the tools they need to make amazing images in bad conditions.

There's more than one type of bad weather. Among the most frustrating are dense, low clouds that obscure the landscape you're trying to shoot. Mumford suggests capturing more abstract landscapes –focusing on individual parts of the larger overall scene. You may not be able to capture the sweeping vista you hoped for, but you might come away with something exceptional nonetheless. It's a great chance to utilize a telephoto lens for landscape photography, a topic we have discussed many times.

While difficult weather can allow you to try out different compositional styles and mix up your approach to landscape photography, can you overcome bad light? Every photographer will emphasize the importance of great light. Bad – and great – light is somewhat subjective, however. Mumford hoped to have bright, dynamic, direct sunlight at sunrise. However, the clouds had other ideas and completely blocked the sun, resulting in flat, colorless light. Rather than let the disappointment discourage him, Mumford took the "bad" light in stride and capitalized on the dull, moody light.

If you take just one lesson from Mumford's video, I recommend that it be not a specific compositional tip or photo idea but the more general and universal advice to roll with the punches out in the field. Disappointment about the weather or lighting conditions can ruin an otherwise amazing photography adventure, whereas adapting to the conditions will not only improve your skills as a photographer, it may also result in an all-time great photograph.

To view more of Andy Mumford's work, visit his website and YouTube channel. You can learn more about his excellent landscape photography workshops here.

(Via Andy Mumford