Published Feb 12. 2010 - 6 years ago

Shoot the weather

When the weather goes bad - or just different - it's time to get out the camera!

Cold and windy - Anybody who has fished a coast in this kind of weather knows that it's rough
Orange - This angler and the rock are the only things standing out in this fabulous misty sunrise.
This is snow! - Most of us have been fishing on days like this, but few have the pictures
Weather!
Kasper Mühlbach - Martin Joergensen - Steve Egge

How do you frame wind? How is snow captured best? How do you protect your camera when you try to freeze a shower into a single image? No, it's not at all easy to get the impression of weather into that piece of mechanics and electronics we call a camera.

But that shouldn't keep you from shooting when the weather turns bad, because you can get some of the best and most stunning images outdoors when the weather is bad - or at least different. Fog, wind, snow, rain. It should all get you scouting for subjects.

Extreme fishing - Few people fish in such weather, even fewer take pictures.
Cozy in the snow - And it was actually very comfortable!
Snow
Henning Eskol - Martin Joergensen

Bad weather is good weather!

Most people will regard sunshine and beautiful weather as the best photo weather. Sure enough: you do get some nice pictures in great weather. The sun is shining, clouds are drifting, the sky is blue and people are happy. When clouds draw over, the scene becomes dull and boring, and you tuck away the camera. When the rain sets in you pack up for good. The photo day is over.

No! It's not! Now the fun starts! Photographically at least.

Bad weather is generally very good photo weather, and the more extreme the better.
Dense fog.
Howling wind.
Drizzling rain.
Heavy snow.
Bring it on!
As soon as you bump into weather like that, you want to shoot and try to capture the rage of the elements with your camera.

A front - Drama found in a heavy cloud cover moving in
Dark clouds - Dark clouds gathering on a bright day can give some magical light
Clouds
Martin Joergensen

Dense fog.
Howling wind.
Drizzling rain.
Heavy snow.
Bring it on!

Cameras endure more than you think

I admit that it's a bit borderline to dig out the camera when conditions are as worst, and I also admit that some cameras (or rather camera owners) will suffer a bit in the rough environment, but trust me: your camera will endure far more that you think. You need to leave that comfort zone and bring your camera out of protective covers, bags and Ziploc's and start shooting!
It's less than a year ago I bought my first waterproof camera. Until then I have been shooting with whatever fate and my wallet could manage to put in my hand. I have always aimed for the rugged, but never been extremely worried about rain, snow and dirt. And that attitude has brought me a lot of great pictures.

Stained - The price of shooting in rough weather is a camera that gets a rough treatment. This is salt from a trip into some high waves.
Another one under - Sometimes you need to dry out a damp camera
Waterproof housing - If you really want to protect your camera, a waterproof housing can be the solution
Drip, drip! - If you want pictures of rain, you need to get the camera out there.
Drowning a camera
Martin Joergensen - Henning Eskol - Nils Jorgensen

If you are extremely uncomfortable with hauling out a camera under harsh conditions, consider getting a bulletproof camera the next time you buy a new one. I recently bought a truly waterproof and shock proof Canon camera, and although it doesn't have quite as many control options as the ones I have used until now, it will stand almost whatever I offer it, including rain, submersion and falls from about 3-4 feet.

So, you got out your camera, and now what? How do you get the best weather pictures?

Rain or snow

Well, if it rains or snows you can consider using a slow shutter speed to catch the movement of the flakes or drops. The light will typically be low, but be careful with fill flash, because the light will most likely illuminate all the drops between you and the subject rather than the subject itself. If you flash, make sure to take a couple of shots without flash too.

Rainy day - The fishing was fantastic on this rainy spring day
Dogs and cats - This is heavy, Irish rain!
After the rain - Drops and wet details during or after a shower offers a lot of neat subjects
Rain
Martin Joergensen - Kasper Mühlbach

Wind

If it blows, you need to capture motion in trees, bushes, clothes or water. If you are on a lake or the ocean, you can try to capture waves turning over. The best position for wave images is low - really low! Keep the camera as close to the surface as you dare. Follow the motion of the waves and press the shutter when the camera is between two waves.

Low stance - A low stance is always good. In this case it emphasizes the feeling of wind and waves.
Windy - Wind is difficult to catch on a photo
Storm! - No, I wasn't fishing here, but just out to catch the wind in my camera. This is a place I usually fish, but under very different conditions.
Wind
Martin Joergensen

Fog

Fog is one of the best kinds of weather you can bump into for fishing pictures. Some of my best fishing/weather images have been shot in foggy weather.
Fog gives that special ambiance, which we occasionally run into when fishing - especially if we get up early in the morning. An angler in the mist with a low, hazy sun in the background usually offers some really good subjects.
There are basically two angles to attack fog: telephoto or wideangle. The telephoto lens will render a lone angler in the distance blurry and enhance the sense of mist, while a closeup of an angler will isolate the person, but show the foggy background.

Fog lifting - The morning haze is slowly lifting as the sun gathers its strength in the morning
Hazy day - The sun is very close to breaking through this hazy drizzle, which gives a very nice light
Hazy sun - Low sun and fog is a clear call for a camera
Foggy Skeena - Fishing for steelhead in BC with the sun almost burning off the haze
Haze
Martin Joergensen - Ken Bonde Larsen

Frost

Frost is like wind. It's not easy to catch in a frame. But the results of frost are much more tangible. Ice on rocks and water, frost crystals in weed and grass, snow powdered leaves even slush ice in rod eyes or frozen drops on the line. For some of these subjects a macro may be handy, but in most cases any standard lens will do.

Ice rings - Tide and frost in combination has formed these rings on the stones
Winter haze - The sun is out there somewhere
Frost and sun - Frosty weather and sunshine is a fantastic combination. Here it's ice crystal rims formed on the edge of seaweed.
Cold gear - Nice setup on the ice of the near bank water. It was cold!
Frost
Martin Joergensen - Kasper Muhlbach
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Comments

Greetings Martin, What can I say after such a comprehensive reply!? There are equipment collectors - and obviously - there are eqipment destroyers!
Interesting that none of the dry and wait tehniques have ever worked for me - fresh or salt water. I don't have the camea corpses to display as the insurance company claimed them - probably as proof of the claim. Loved the link to your site - have bookmarked it for future visits!

Martin Joergensen's picture

Wolfie,

Oh I have drowned cameras! My list is almost as long as yours (4 PowerShots), and I even documented it and wrote a bit about it:

Three down and one to go. The front one works, the rest are all dead or semi dead:

This one is definitely under! Notice the shrimp!

Post mortem reconstruction...

And more here: How to drown a Canon PowerShot

And speaking of shutter buttons... that reminds me of my old Minolta 7000i film camera, which had this shutter issue... due to contact with salt water it was fairly unwilling to expose pictures (not great for a camera) and for a long time I had to pouch my lips around the shutter and blow moist breath into the button mechanics to get it to come alive and be able to fire.
I routinely did that for a year or so until a friend lent me some contact cleaner on a spray can, which cleaned out the oxidazation that must have formed on the contact. It worked like a clockwork since then - and still does.

So it does cost to bring cameras near the water. But on the other hand it also gives you hundreds of great pictures.

Martin

Great article - totally agree that fishing without a camera is almost as bad as not taking a rod along! Howeve my experience with cameras exposed to water is about the complete opposite of yours! In four years I have killed outright 5 Canon powershots: A75, A400, A410, A420,G10 and an Olympus E-1 DSLR, and had rain cause problems with my E-300 shutter button.
I now have a Pentax K-7 with a 18-55 WR lens (water-resistant version) and it has survived 6 trips out wading in saltwater getting splashed by waves and smeared with fish slime. And it is smaller and cheaper than any Nikon,Canon or even Olympus DSLRs for the same sealed construction of body and lens. But my ultimate fishing camera would be like a Panasonic GF-1 with sealed body and lens for compact size and high image quality.

Martin,

We can definately agree on Reersø. I have spend many many hours there. Always a pleasure.

I saw the "Bend Rod" article when posted and was very inspired. I'm used to the standard "put-the-fish-down-and-take-a-icture" but want to go further than that. Some times this just does not give the fish nor the picture the credit it should have! And why not if it is possible? Running around with the camera in the bag is just not optimal, when you bring it with the intention to use it. It seems I need to do 2 things:

1: Bring the camera:
Good Idea to tuck it in the waders. Normally I have had it in the standard bag from the kit, but I can see a point in just letting it hang inside almost ready for action.

2: Let the rod bend:
The more easy part ;-). Already have an appointment at the south point this Easter with a silver bullet I was kind enough to release "long distance" this fall.

I will let you know, when the 2 things occur at the same time ;-)

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