Pern's Ponderings

Check here periodically for my musings on photography. In this space, we'll explore how I achieved particular photographs, tips and tricks to get the most out of your camera or even just my thoughts on the world at large. 

Foul Weather Photography Fun

Though tourists no longer flock to the docks of Galilee, R.I., during the foul winter weather, signs advertising lobsters for sale right off the boat remain on display for the few who may venture to the harbor during the cold New England winter. 

Photographers are accustomed to aiming for the sweet spot of the "Golden Hour" - the hour after sunrise or the hour before sunset - to make their best photos. The light is gorgeous and makes your subjects pop. 

And while shooting under ideal conditions can often lead to the best photographs, it's important to remember never to pass up an opportunity, even if the conditions aren't exactly favorable.

Such was the case recently when a warm front rolled through southern Rhode Island. After a week of near-freezing temperatures, the 50-degree weather brought with it a massive bank of fog and some minor precipitation. 

Barely able to see across the street through my kitchen window, I decided to head down to the harbor and capture the fog. There's something about the fishing fleet bathed in a winter fog that I felt would capture the lifestyle of New England fishermen. 

Of course, when heading out into foul weather, the first priority is to protect your gear. If you don't get a shot that covers the cost of your ruined equipment, you're going to be kicking yourself (as I nearly found out last year). 

With my gear properly protected under a weather shield, I headed first to the jetty at the mouth of Galilee harbor, hoping to create a shot of a boat disappearing into the heavy fog. Unfortunately, it was so thick, the boats remained moored and the shot I was hoping to capture was a bust. 

The noon light was flat and uninspiring, the precipitation was picking up and I was considering packing my gear. But, rather than squander an opportunity, I headed over to the docks and began shooting. 

The drab light actually turned out to work in my favor, as it made the few bright colors that dotted the area - green nets, orange buoys, red sign paint and yellow boat hulls - really popped against the gray winter backdrop. 

Whenever I go out to shoot, I make it a goal to get at least one shot I'm proud of. Even under ideal conditions with great light, that doesn't always happen. But on this day, at high noon, under awful lighting conditions, I was able to capture exactly the mood I was looking for in four photos that I really liked. 

Sometimes, shooting in foul weather can be just as fun as working in perfect conditions.