There's no such thing as bad weather... for photography

September 24, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

I've read those words, or words like it, on a number of occasions recently.  After this wettest of summers they require a leap of faith!  And as I write the rain is whipping against the window.  Another Amber warning.  A whole month's rain scheduled to dump on us in 24 hours.  

I decided to put the words to the test on a recent stormy morning at one of my favourite places on the North Coast, the harbour at Ballintoy.  The first problem I had was with staying on my feet as the wind tore into the rocky shoreline.  On a day like this you have to lean into the wind and yet so position yourself that if the wind were suddenly to drop, as it inevitably does, you don't fall forward.  It was certainly not a day for the tripod.

The second challenge was the heavy squalls that swept across the harbour.  At least, if I remembered to look, I could see them coming and rush for the nearest shelter - which happened to be the back wall of the little cafe.   But that didn't save me from a good soaking.  

The third challenge was the sea water, which turned into spray as the waves crashed into the rocks and was then propelled long distances on the wind.  Salt water is bad enough news for a camera, and especially for the glass and any filters you try to use.  But there is also a nasty, yellowish foam that on stormy days like this builds up a considerable depth to the point where it is caught by the wind and showers the shore like huge snowflakes.  My hair was matted in the stuff before long. (You can see the foam piled against the harbour wall in the next photo.)

All this made the basic elements of photography, such as keeping the camera steady and keeping the lens free from water drops, a significant challenge.  The opening pic and the following are some of the shots that survived the storm The final photograph is an example of a 'grab' shot.  There is a gap in the rocks, near the cafe, which gives rise to some spectacular explosions of water on a stormy day when the tide is in.  I was able to rush out, grab a couple of shots as I watched the next wave advancing and then beat a hasty retreat to the shelter of the wall, waiting for the next opportunity.

Sea Stacks at Ballintoy 1


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