No such thing as bad weather

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“Storm over Nantucket”

While I typed yesterday’s blog post, hailstones the size of marbles were rattling my roof. This April shower made me think of a saying which the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations attributes to John Ruskin: ‘There is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather’. Although it is highly unlikely that Ruskin had us mind, for photographers this saying is entirely apposite. Changeable weather brings interesting skies for landscapes. Cloudy weather brings diffused light that is perfect for macro work or portraits. Rain leaves colours refreshed, foliage sparkling with droplets. Mist highlights structure and outline in the landscape, and snow is the perfect natural reflector for portraits. Probably for the outdoor shooter, clear blue skies and baking sun are just about the worst weather there is. There’s no pleasing some people!

So imagine my delight when, after a ‘perfect’ summer day on holiday in Nantucket last August, the evening brought one of the best storms I have experienced. From the balcony of our pontoon-cottage I watched the show for a full two hours. Today’s photograph is my favourite from the many I took. This was my first experience of shooting lightning. I want more!
The technical bit: To take lightning shots you should use BULB mode with a cable/remote release. That way you can keep the shutter open and close it immediately after an arc. But, if your cable is broken (grrr!) you can try using long exposures and self timer. I used a series of 30 second exposures over two battery-draining hours. Sometimes the shots were over exposed as I couldn’t close the shutter for fear of joggling the camera. Sometimes I got lucky. ;o)
Canon EOS 5Dii, 24-105mm L lens, tripod. 24mm, f/8, 30secs, ISO400, -1EV.

13 thoughts on “No such thing as bad weather

  1. This part of California is characterized by those blue skies and baking sun you have written about. I think that’s as good an excuse as any for my apparently almost complete inabilty to shoot pleasing landscape shots.

    You seem to have the auspicious combination of opportunity, equipment and technical know-how, brought together with the most important and most intangible element – the eye – to consistently take great shots of this sort.

    • Thanks, Debbie. Everything did come together rather nicely when we were in Nantucket. We don’t tend to get that sort of lightning at home, however. More the classic British clouds, hence my interest in macro!
      Would I swap for Californian weather? Probably.
      Rx

  2. Wonderful capture Rachael, love this shot πŸ™‚ and a great post too. We were lucky enough to have a similar storm the night we arrived in Canada in June last year. Managed to catch it hitting the CN Tower I was so pleased.

      • I will try and dig it out and post it (I never did post it on Flickr!). I was determined to get a shot, even though the balcony in the hotel room we were staying in had a HUGE step out (bearing in mind I was still in a walking boot at the time after breaking my leg!), “A” had to lift me over and back in (the things we do for a shot eh!)

  3. hello. just wish to tell you that when i woke up on the 13th it was pouring rain. i said rats. then i read this post. next thing i did was go out and take pictures in the pouring rain. a huge success (for me): over 300 clicks in two days

    so: thank you. and, i couldn’t agree more: no such thing as bad weather πŸ™‚

  4. Pingback: Lightbox fun | Focused Moments

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