Making Great Images in Bad Weather

In outdoor photography, some of the best shooting opportunities occur when the weather is less than ideal. This is true in landscape, close-up and wildlife photography. Photographs made in direct sunlight on cloudless days after the magic hours of early and late afternoon have a high probability of being ruined by excessive contrast, bad exposure, burned out highlights and poor color saturation.

I never plan a serious photo trip when the forecast is for bright sunlight with no cloud cover. My preference is to photograph in light overcast or in partly cloudy conditions. This is especially true in the spring, summer and early fall when the sun is high in the sky. Stormy weather is equally appealing to me. I look forward to being in the field right before, during and after a rain or snow storm.

Last week, I decided to visit Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey to photograph birds and wildlife. The weather forecast called for periods of moderate rain and cool temperatures, which didn’t present a problem since most of the photography at Brigantine is done from the comfort and protection of your vehicle.

Because of the foul weather, there were no other visitors or photographers at the refuge on this particular morning. I truly enjoyed the experience of being alone in this beautiful place. The wildlife, in contrast to human visitors was present in masses. I observed a wide variety of creatures including herons, ducks, geese, raptors and waterfowl.

The example presented below is my favorite image from this day.

Great Egret, Nikon D70S, Nikon 500mm f4 P

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