Sunday, October 13, 2019

A Useful Weather Page For Outdoor Photographer

In my opinion, the most important part of photography is light.  Sure composition and a sharp technique are key elements to making a good photo, but if you follow the light you can find the composition and use your photographic skills to make a great photo.   As outdoor photographers, we are at the mercy of the weather to give us the light we want. 

I have used an App called The Photographers Ephemeris or TPE for years.  It will tell me where the sun and moon will be for any given time and place anywhere in the world.  This is more than just knowing when the sun comes up or goes down.  It will tell me the direction and angle of elevation, which will tell me how the sunlight will affect the scene.  You can use TPE for free on the web or buy a smartphone version for a few bucks.  Check it out.

Besides the sun, other major factors include clouds, wind, dew, and rain,  There are many weather apps and websites available.  One website I find useful is Weather Underground because of the useful information on the 10-day forecast.
Some key pieces of information available on this single page.

  • General forecast - Partly Cloudy for today.
  • Forecasted temperature and dew point.  When the temperature falls below the dew point you get dew on the grass, flowers, etc. making for great macro photos.
  • Cloud cover - sometimes you want lots of cloud cover to give nice soft light.  Other times you want scattered clouds for photos that include the sky.  The example above shows cloudy in the morning and burning off around noon.
  • Wind speed - this is important if you are wanting to minimize plant movement in the image.  In this example, the wind is forecast to pick up around noon.
Using this example I can see that the morning is best for macro photos of flowers and the afternoon might be better for big landscape shots.

As photographers, we have a wealth of information that can help us plan our outings and improve out odds of making great photos.  Now, go out and make some.