Think back to a recent time when the weather was nice and you were in a pleasant park area. The sun was out, the clouds were fluffy, and the birds were singing (a rainbow and some happy skipping may have been involved too but we won't go there…). During this joyous day, recall how many people you saw making photographs. My guess would be quite a few. In general, people like making images when the weather is nice. Yet, when the weather becomes inclement, we tend to stay inside, and far fewer photographs are made.
The world doesn't stop when the weather is bad. As photographers, neither should we.
Now, I know many photographers (and I'm sure you do too) who are, shall we say, apprehensive about taking their beloved camera out shooting in inclement weather. They say "my camera is not environmentally sealed".
I say, "So what?"
There is a wide variety of protective gear, such as rain covers for your camera and equipment. You wear rain gear without fear, so why can't your equipment do the same? Op/Tech's Rainsleeve, Kata's Elements series, AquaTech's Sport Shield series , and ThinkTank's Hydrophobia Rain Covers are just a few that come to mind. Even if your camera is environmentally sealed, it is a good idea to invest in a rain cover for your gear.
As photographers, we seek out images and scenes that are unique and tell a story. When applied to our weather discussion, we can get some unique images that tell a story which far fewer photographers tell. A wet street at night and its glow present wonderful options for us to photograph. Shooting falling snow and capturing it in mid air can also make an image that will resonate with others.
Human nature tells us to seek shelter when said weather is bad. As a photographer this means that less people will be out shooting and hence, the stories you can capture will be all your own.
Perhaps urban/cityscapes is not your thing. Maybe you're more of a wildlife photographer. The same rules apply. Wildlife photographers who shoot in rain, snow, etc. have the potential to get amazing images. We've all seen images of wildlife. The number of images rapidly decreases when you look for wildlife in rain, snow, etc. So if you brave the elements and capture, for instance, a mature bull elk exhaling in the cold morning air while some light snow is falling, you could have an amazing shot. Unique, thought provoking wildlife photographs are what separate the journeyman from the truly creative.
Extraordinary photographers make extraordinary photographs. Extraordinary photographers are the ones who do not scoff at the notion of inclement weather but rather embrace it. They are the ones who realized long ago that weather is not the enemy.
Would you rather be an ordinary photographer or an extraordinary one? That's what I thought. Get out there and shoot! (feel free do some happy skipping too if you’d like).
You can see OPG's offerings of raincovers here.