Watching the Weather: What it can do for your Photography: Revisited - Ld

Watching the Weather: What it can do for your Photography (Revisited)

This post may look familiar to some of you, and that’s because I have posted it before (see the original post here). However, it was my third post, which means it was in January, and to me, that was a long time ago in the blog world. And, I also wanted to post it again because I think what it talks about is important, and also because if you’re like me, you forget things if you don’t see them multiple times. It's relevant to the fall season, because, well, you'll see why below. 

This post talks about watching the weather in order to capture some awesome photos; in other words weather can be an important component in photography and one you shouldn't ignore. 

In photography, weather can play an important role in the outcome of a photograph. Take, for example, this picture I took on the north shore of Lake Superior near Two Harbors, MN. The day started out sunny with not a cloud in the sky, but quickly changed as clouds rolled in off the lake.

I was walking back to the cabin I was staying at and just happened to turn around and saw this scene. I was lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time. To be honest, I feel some times photography is luck, but that's another post for another time.

While some photography is all about catching the weather at the right time, you can also watch the weather and plan a photo outing around a particular phenomenon ahead of time. One example of this is the aurora borealis, which I go into detail about in my photography goals post. Another example is the photo below.

The frosty pictures you see on this post is from Wood Lake Nature Center in Richfield, MN.

I took this picture late last year. I was off of work the week over Christmas, and we were experiencing ' warm' days (warm being above freezing) and very cold nights. The result of this was foggy mornings (here is your science lesson for the week: how fog is formed). Since the night-time temperatures dropped below freezing, the fog would freeze onto surrounding objects, thus resulting in the gorgeous scenery.

But wait! How did you know that would happen (is what you may be asking)? Are you some sort of magic weather genie? Although I do often wish that, it is not the case at all. The answer is actually much more boring than being some all knowing genie. I knew there would be a lot of fog by watching the weather forecasts, as mentioned above. The particular morning I went out, the county I live in and surrounding counties were under a dense fog advisory, and I was alerted to it by notifications I have set up on my phone. As soon as I got notification, I argued with myself for a little bit on whether or not to get out of bed, but ultimately decided it would be worth it, and I am SO glad I did.

You don't have to have a meteorology degree in order to know when particular weather phenomenons might be occurring. Following weather sites such as and NOAA are great places to start. With standard weather patterns such as fog, frost, rain, etc, meteorologists can predict those a couple days in advance (whether or not they're right is another story and I don't take responsibility for that).

If you're looking for more long term weather watching to see overall seasonal trends (when is the average first snowfall date, typically when does such-and-such flower start blooming in the spring), that is something called phenology, and something I am VERY interested in as a nature photographer (if you're interested in more information on phenology, I'd recommend visiting the site linked above). 

Fall is a good time to watch the weather, especially if you are interested in capturing frost on leaves/fall grasses. Other times I like to are during snow storms (yes, I’m crazy, but you can get some gorgeous pictures) and also in the spring to try and capture frost on spring wildflowers. Please note I’m not encouraging anyone to go out in dangerous situations just to get a picture. Be smart here, people and use common sense which of course you do (I’m talking about those OTHER people).

Do you have any stories or tips about watching the weather in relation to photography? I'd love to hear about it!

You can comment via this post below, or on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

Happy photographing!

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