Wildlife Photography Tips for Bad Weather
- They get in the way of seeing your camera’s LCD, thus making it difficult to adjust camera settings.
- You have to reach inside the cover to make settings adjustments, which is cumbersome at best.
- The cover doesn’t protect the end of the lens from the elements.
photo by jonathan_steven via iStock
When you look out the window and see overcast skies, rain, and wind, you probably don’t think, “Yes, these are ideal conditions for wildlife photography.”
But, as you’ll learn below, taking steps to protect your gear and heading out into poor weather can give you plentiful opportunities to capture breathtaking photos of wildlife.
After all, inclement weather is often full of drama, and that can translate well as the backdrop for your wildlife photos.
Bad Weather Wildlife Photography Tip #1: Protect Your Gear
photo by Sandra Dombrovsky via iStock
In years past, virtually the only option to protect your camera and lens from moisture was to use a camera rain cover.
The problems with these covers are threefold:
A better solution is the Camera Canopy.
This rig is fully adjustable to protect up to a 500mm lens and camera body from the elements. Just extend the canopy to accommodate longer lenses and retract it to accommodate shorter lenses to protect the lens glass from getting rained on.
And since it mounts to the camera’s hot-shoe, you can see the LCD and easily make changes to your camera settings as needed.
There’s no need to fiddle around trying to find your bearings inside a restrictive rain cover. Instead, the back of the camera is open just as it should be so you can more easily compose your shots and make on-the-fly changes to your camera settings. As you can see above, you can also shoot handheld with the camera canopy in place.
In other words, this innovative little gadget is just what you need to protect your gear when the weather gets bad!
Bad Weather Wildlife Photography Tip #2: Go Small
photo by Global_Pics via iStock
Typically, when the weather is bad, larger animals will seek shelter and ride out the storm. You have to be ultimately patient (more on that below) if you’re going to photograph these animals in inclement weather.
But that doesn’t mean you have to sit in your car or hide without capturing interesting images.
Birds, for example, love the rain and you can often find them bathing in puddles or perched on branches taking a quick bath.
And, as shown above, the raindrops add a measure of added interest to the shot due to their blurry motion.
photo by gawrav via iStock
You can get smaller still when the weather is bad by shooting macro photos.
The beetle pictured above is the ideal subject for dreary weather, as its bright colors pop in the frame and the water droplets on the leaf add interest to the composition.
So, though you might be after photos of bears or deer or other large mammals, it’s the small ones that might be the easiest target in bad weather.
Bad Weather Wildlife Photography Tip #3: Be Patient
photo by ysbrandcosijn via iStock
Like any photographic pursuit, wildlife photography - especially in bad weather - requires a ton of patience on your part.
You very well might be sitting in the same spot for hours on end, just waiting for an opportunity to photograph wildlife. If you plan ahead, though, you might be able to minimize the wait time.
For example, research the behavior and habits of your target animal, that way you know precisely where to look for them and the time of day during which they are most active.
photo by BeholdingEye via iStock
Likewise, understand that during bad weather, large animals might be bedded down, as shown above. By elevating your shooting position, you can better capture moments like this.
photo by PhilEllard via iStock
Of course, don’t let the bad weather pass without trying to use it as a backdrop.
The deep, dark clouds of a passing storm are a perfect background for a wildlife photo. As you can see above, the dramatic clouds give this shot an added layer of interest.
The point here is that there are all kinds of opportunities for creating compelling images of wildlife when the weather isn’t all that great. Simply protect your gear, look for animals big and small, and be patient, and you’ll be in a good position to get some dramatic wildlife photos.