We’ve all been there. Despite our best planning, checking the weather forecast every day for the last two weeks (on multiple websites, just to be sure), and pleading with a higher power, we get to our perfectly chosen location and it’s raining, grey, dull, overcast and downright miserable. What do we do? Well, we can always call it a day, or we can come up with a plan B. Being rather determined characters, we generally favour the plan B approach, and here are some of our favourites…
Cascades of water can be a great option when the weather is not on our side. Often we can simply get rid of the sky, so solving the problem of the top half of our picture looking like a grey card! Also, the less bright and more low contrast conditions can be great for slow shutter speed shots – it’s easier to get that those shutter speeds down if you don’t have too much light to deal with. You’ll also benefit from not having to deal with awkward reflections or over-exposed hot spots.
When the sky is grey you can embrace this an make everything grey, which is really what happens when you shoot in black and white. Firstly the grey sky just becomes another shade in the picture, and the low saturation of the scene is not an issue. The low contrast that you often get on grey days can also come across a lot better in black and white than it often does in colour. Shooting in monochrome gives you an opportunity to come up with a picture that focuses on shape and texture, challenging you to think about your photography in a slightly different way.
Reflections in puddles
Puddles can offer a tremendous source of creative images, especially if you can get something interesting reflecting in them. Here’s a famous example from the great Henri Cartier-Bresson:
There is always the opportunity to go macro and see what you can capture drips and droplets, or you can get really adventurous and try for a reflection in a drip!
Capture the mood
Dreary days have a special atmosphere and trying to capture it can be tricky? Perhaps you find a person or animal thoroughly defeated by the rain? Someone whose body language, expression and context tells a story about the weather. Or perhaps the opposite, someone who embraces it, refusing to be defeated by the wet stuff?
Watch the sky carefully
OK, so this doesn’t really apply to those days where it is just one big, grey blanket of cloud, but you never know – the weather can change in an instant and a break in the clouds with a shaft of light can be one of those wonderful opportunities that can give us a great shot, especially if the light happens to fall in an interesting spot.
See it as a challenge
We cannot control the weather, but we can see it as a challenge, and a way to improve our photography. Perhaps more than anything, this mindset is the way to make the most of those grey and dull days that are a fact of life.