Weather: A Photographers Best Friend

A lot about making good images is being in the right place at the right time. Whether it's at a sporting event, a wedding, or nature photography. You may look at some images in nature or wildlife magazines and say, "Wow what a lucky shot!" While most photographers will get that "lucky" shot once in a while, most of it's skill and planning. Us nature photographers have to work with the weather because it's one of our biggest allies. Besides the Magic Hour, I would say weather is a very close second if you are looking to make pro quality images. I am a weather snob. Most people see a beautiful blue sky, no clouds, calm, just a perfect day! For me it is beautiful... but not for photography. On days like these I will head to the beach or go hiking and leave the camera at home. I often won't go out to shoot unless there's some sort of weather.

I know when sunrise and sunset will be, so most of my time researching will be for the latest weather. I use several apps on my iPhone to help with my planning. The Weather Channel and Accuweather, both have good apps for weather forecasts. Although those apps have a radar, I use an app called MyRadar, this app gives me an accurate and more current radar reading than the other weather apps. It also has a cloud overlay, so I can see where and when the cloud banks will be moving in. I also use an app called Cloud Map. It's run by NOAA and gives me another look at the current clouds.

I use a simple app called sunrise and sunset lite, which gives me a simple to use, easy way to find the sunrise/sunset times, wherever I happen to be in the USA. The Photographers Ephemeris app or TPE, will give me direction of the rising sun and moon. It will also tell me the sunrise/sunset times if I am in a valley or on top of a mountain. This app does many more great things for the nature photographer and is highly recommended.

For night photography I use the app simply called Moon. It gives me the moon rise/set time, which direction it will rise from, the phase of the moon, the illumination percentage, and even earths distance to the moon. The Aurora Fcst app will forecast the elusive northern lights so I can plan accordingly. This app, while its right most of the time, I have found the forecast to be off at times, forecasting the northern lights will be at storm level, then they never show up. Not sure how they forecast the lights, it may be difficult, but it has been off in the past.

So why go through all this? So we can most effectively use our time and money, so we are prepared to what nature will present us, and so we can go get that "Lucky" shot.

This weeks post image was taken at Ocqueoc Falls. It's the only recognized waterfall in Michigan's Lower Peninsula. It's about a 2.5 hour drive from my home. Once I did all my research, I knew it was going to be a rainy overcast day. This kind of weather is great for fall foliage and waterfalls, so I sprung into action. Without the rain and clouds my images would have been less then stellar and it would have been a wasted trip. Weather: A Photographers Best Friend.