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Thread: Weather forcasting for photographers

  1. #1

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    Weather forcasting for photographers

    weather plays a key part in alot of photography, be it having enough sun to shoot at longer focal lengths, the sun comming in at the right angle, the clouds being just so for a vivid sunset, or the fog rolling in to add mood.

    Having enough sun just needs clear skies, and the right angle of light just needs you to go out at the right time of day. But getting the weather right to photograph sunsets, fog, etc is a completely different matter. What do you use to help you know when the weather conditions are going to be just so...? or any other general hints and tips when trying to shoot particular weather conditions?

  2. #2

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    Re: Weather forcasting for photographers

    weather.com's 10 day forcast

  3. #3

    Re: Weather forcasting for photographers

    Don't forget the tide times for coastal shots (UK) http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/coast/tides/wales.shtml

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    Re: Weather forcasting for photographers

    there are of course plenty of forecasts, but they rarely say 'pretty sunset tonight', what should i look for during the day/evening to help predict if the sunset will be nice and red, or if there will be fog the following morning, are there any tell-tale signs, or is the forecast all you use?

  5. #5

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    Re: Weather forcasting for photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by wjh31 View Post
    there are of course plenty of forecasts, but they rarely say 'pretty sunset tonight', what should i look for during the day/evening to help predict if the sunset will be nice and red, or if there will be fog the following morning, are there any tell-tale signs, or is the forecast all you use?
    Regional fires, high pollution levels, and high particulate(?) levels in the atmosphere will all contribute to a 'pretty sunset'. Clear days (especially with high winds) will not have much in the atmosphere for light to reflect/refract off of, thus will not produce a deep, vivid sunset.

  6. #6

    Re: Weather forcasting for photographers

    I find the most reliable for the UK is "Red sky at night" or still more reliable "ring nar, storm far, ring far store nar". The ring refers to the ring around the moon rather than ones nether regional complaints

    The Bi'gun also reckons there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. I guess that goes for cameras too

    Steve

  7. #7
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Weather forcasting for photographers

    Hi Will,

    This is a skill I would like to develop also.
    I know a little bit about weather and how it works, or at least I think I do , time, and posted replies, will tell.

    I shall preface this by saying that local geography is going to have a significant effect; for example if your chosen site is located on the windward or lee side of a large hill or mountain range. Also (fairly obviously) if you intend to go to the coast, what you get will depend whether the wind that day is blowing onto the shore or from the shore, and if the shore is north, south, east or west facing, and if a sheltered cove, cliff or beach looking straight out across the North Sea or Atlantic.
    Also be advised, I am talking of UK weather, as it is relevant to you and me, and I really can't comment on desert, sub-tropical, high altitude, etc., forecasting as I have never lived in those kind of places.

    Thus when I make these statements here, I am sure I will be incorrect in at least 50%
    So here goes nothin':

    I would suggest that colourful sunsets need high cloud, which you won't see if there is low (rain) cloud in the way, or clear blue skies and a high pressure area stable overhead; so I guess look for the hour-by-hour forecast for the area you are considering which is transitioning from white cloud clearing away (or approaching) at/after sunset.

    Of course, if there has been rain, and that happens to be clearing away at sunset time, there is a chance of something spectacular, but far more likely is continued grey clag until it is too dark

    Morning mist or fog requires moist still air, so I'd predict this as being more likely when;
    a) wind speed is low to non-existent
    b) a warm front has moved out/cold front moved in, overnight (warm air holds more moisture, as it goes, the moisture condenses forming the mist)
    Even as I write this; some of it doesn't sound right

    As Rob says, the tides can/will play an important part in coastal and river estuary photography.

    I'll give it some more thought (and research) and probably add to this later,

  8. #8

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    Re: Weather forcasting for photographers

    Coming from an aviation background, I think you'd benefit from working through one of our meteorlogical books to get an understanding of the conditions that dictate the types of clouds formed by certain combinations.

    At the end of the day though (pun intended!) you get what you get; if it's cloudy a few hours before sunset then the clouds will no-doubt change somewhat (usually a big mass will form right where you DON'T want them), and if there are no clouds then it's unlikely that they'll increase significantly over the last few hours of the day.

    But unless you're trying to predict a day or more in advance then the best forecasting technique that I've ever discovered it to just open the door - stick my head out - and take a look at the sky

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