Stormy Weather? Grab Your Camera.

Good weather is not the same as good photography weather. Bright sunshine around midday is probably the worst light to shoot in and stormy weather that might see you running home from work to beat the rain is actually great photography light.

The cold windy weather in Er Hai meant Lola had to wrap up with a big scarf. But the environment and weather suit this look perfectly.

The cold windy weather in Er Hai meant Lola had to wrap up with a big scarf. But the environment and weather suit this look perfectly.


These giant snail shells on the grass of the shore made a beautiful contrast in texture. My daughter thought they were sea shells. When I told her they were snails she screamed blue murder and ran to  her mother crying for protection from the evil beasts. I leaned a lesson that day.

These giant snail shells on the grass of the shore made a beautiful contrast in texture. My daughter thought they were sea shells. When I told her they were snails she screamed blue murder and ran to  her mother crying for protection from the evil beasts. I leaned a lesson that day.

On our trip to Er Hai, The Inland Sea, in Dali we had nice calm sunny clear skies for the first two days. But on the third day as we arrived at the tip of Hai Shi, Sea Tongue National Park, the wind picked up dramatically and dark clouds rolled in. However there were bright breaks in the sky and a beautiful electric stormy quality to the light. The atmosphere excited my daughter who insisted on collecting every shell and stone she could pry free from the compacted lakeshore sand as she ran along the path and the beach by the waterfront.


The striking thing about the weather was that it was actually in tune with the environment of the Sea Tongue with it’s mixture of swampy shoreline and long dry reeds. If fiction it’s known as a pathetic fallacy. It took me a moment to realise the weather change was a harbinger of good fortune and not time to pack my camera away. My family were having a playful time dancing in the wind and it all fell together perfectly and I shot many good photographs that I would never have thought of creating at a seaside venue.

Tom Sawyer dropped in for a visit on out holiday. 

Tom Sawyer dropped in for a visit on out holiday. 

The late evening sky was getting a bit dark for portraits but it made a beautiful backdrop.

The late evening sky was getting a bit dark for portraits but it made a beautiful backdrop.

The sun started to set and the light became a bit more difficult for portraits but you have to keep on your toes photographically so I just changed the way I looked at the weather. Rather than low light challenging my portraits I saw an opportunity to create beautiful silhouettes against the deep blue sky that a few minutes earlier was to bright to use as a background.

In a more sunny situation the wind blown hair would ruin the shot but here it works.

In a more sunny situation the wind blown hair would ruin the shot but here it works.

Nothing changes faster than mountain weather so if you try to stick to a rigid plan you will be constantly frustrated and disheartened. But with a more flexible attitude you can quickly take advantage of any situation and any lighting change to create something fun and interesting to take back from your experience.

I couldn’t resist a panorama of the fabulous swampy shore of Hai Shi.

I couldn’t resist a panorama of the fabulous swampy shore of Hai Shi.