Working with the Weather

The weather can be quite fickle, especially in January here in the Midwest.  I think every region probably has their own version of the saying, "...if you don't like the weather, just wait 15 minutes."  That last part seems to vary, from "15 minutes" to "5 minutes", or even "a few minutes". Out of curiosity, I did a Google search of the quote to discover that it can be attributed to Mark Twain, as he was describing the weather in New England.  My friends in New England have certainly had their share of some nasty winter weather over the last few days, so we have little to complain about here in Northwest Missouri, even if we are getting some snow tonight.  

My last post, just a few short days ago, had us basking in balmy 70 degree sunshine, even though it is January.  In fact, we haven't had much for wintery weather at all for a few weeks.  Of course, we all knew that wouldn't last.  As the winds shifted around to the northwest on Thursday, bringing with it some colder air and moisture, it was a reminder that we aren't ready for Spring just yet.  

Photographing landscapes, and nature in general, may be most pleasant when the temperatures are mild, with little wind and no rain.  However, sometimes we just have to make the best of things, even if the weather doesn't want to play nice.  Actually, rainy, snowy, or otherwise nasty weather can potentially make for a great time to go out shooting.  The cloudy or overcast sky means that the light will be nice and even with no harsh shadows, regardless of time of day.  Plus, sometimes the rain can make some nice reflections or help colors to just pop out of the scene.  The photo below was taken Friday evening, kind of the 'calm before the storm' you could say.  It was a cold and cloudy evening, but the calm conditions made for some great reflections in the water.

Pond Reflections

Saturday, I woke up to rainy conditions, and the steady rain continued throughout the day.  It was a cold rain, too, as the temperatures hovered just a few degrees above freezing.  The kind of day that is great for just hanging out inside.  In my search for weather quotes, there is another that I had heard before and find quite amusing.  Another quote that some may credit Mark Twain for, it was likely first used by a writer and friend, Charles Dudley Warner, and goes something like this: "Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it."  It is interesting that we spend quite a lot of time talking about, and sometimes complaining about the weather.  I'm pretty sure that if we could do something to change it to our liking, we would do it...but, I digress.

Although the conditions weren't great for going out shooting today, I decided to make a stop at Krug Park in St. Joseph, to check out the waterfall.  I figured there would be ample flow following the rainy conditions, which proved to be true.  I had photographed the waterfall a couple years ago, but hadn't been back since, so thought this would be as good a time as any.  Plus, there would be no one else crazy enough to be out there, so I would have it all to myself.  

Another nice thing about the dreary weather conditions is that you can set up the camera for some slow shutter speeds to show the movement of water in situations like this.  I didn't have to use any filters, but rather just closed the aperture down on the lens to get a shutter speed of around one second.  That was plenty slow enough given the speed of the flowing water.  A polarizing filter may have been a good idea to cut down on glare, but that was left at home. I still liked the shots...see what you think: