Dealing with cruddy weather

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ixl
Posts: 938
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 12:01 am
Location: Southern VT
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Dealing with cruddy weather

Post: # 16332Post ixl
Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:28 pm

Hi all,

I'm back from 9 days in the North Country, which consisted of 5 days in the NEK, 3 days in the Eastern Townships of southern Quebec, and one day wasted driving around scouting and wasting time thanks to less-than-useless "official" foliage reports.

Like many of you, I was upset/annoyed/frustrated by the poor weather in the NEK the first few days of October. But I've had to deal with such before, and at least the color was good. I was able to get quite a few good shots on these less-than-ideal days by following a few guidelines that I hope some of you will find useful.

Many of these are oriented specifically around photography, but most also apply to general sight-seeing.

1. Get up-close and personal

When it's overcast or raining, the tops of the mountains will usually be socked in, and even if not, the hazy view will dull the foliage. It's a waste of time to go touring around looking for long views or taking photos from the tops of ridgelines. Instead, concentrate on "micro-landscapes" that are closer at hand, such as shorelines, farms, animals, gardens and other close-in subjects.

2. Shoot items that are ideal in bad weather

Some subjects are actually better shot in bad than good weather. At the top of this list are waterfalls and streams, which are very hard to photograph in full sun. Dirt road scenes also work well.

3. Go slow

Take extra time and hunt out subjects and compositions; you may be surprised by what you find.

4. Use a polarizing filter

It will cut glare and reflection from wet surfaces and bring out color.

5. Keep your lens dry

Your camera can probably handle a bit of wet, but you need to keep it off the front of the lens, or the water drops will act like tiny lens elements and distort your pictures. Use a lens hood if you have one, or set up a picture and wipe the front with a lens cloth just before hitting the shutter button.

6. Watch for openings

Most cloudy or rainy days aren't cloudy or rainy for the entire day. Get online and load a radar loop to see where the rain is. Then, try to avoid those locations. If rain is approaching you, drive away from it until it "catches you" and then reverse direction and drive through it, so you spend as little time as possible getting wet. You can often also find "open spots" on cloudy days using a satellite loop.

7. Bracket

On shots that include the sky, you will have to deal with the clouds being much brighter than the ground. Try bracketing and combining shots in Photoshop.
Charles Kozierok - DesktopScenes.com

View Autumn Scenes from Southern Vermont (2003), my free, 75-image foliage gallery!


Snoidburger
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 5:06 am

Re: Dealing with cruddy weather

Post: # 16333Post Snoidburger
Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:40 pm

I too have been frustrated by these gray dreary days, and leaveless trees stripped by the rain. And the weather forecasts have been just plain WRONG , and yes , foliage reports have been useless .
But those who release the reports are in the biz of promoting tourism and must put a good spin on things- " polishing the turd" , Jon Stewart calls it!
Visiting Vermont during peak foliage and experiencing gray sunless days is like a romantic date with a beautiful woman and wearing a blindfold!
Between airfare, rental car and 3 nights of overpriced lodging ,I could have spent a week in Paris.

markm
Posts: 89
Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2011 4:59 pm
Location: Southeast MA

Re: Dealing with cruddy weather

Post: # 16337Post markm
Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:10 pm

ixl wrote:Hi all,

I'm back from 9 days in the North Country, which consisted of 5 days in the NEK, 3 days in the Eastern Townships of southern Quebec, and one day wasted driving around scouting and wasting time thanks to less-than-useless "official" foliage reports.

Like many of you, I was upset/annoyed/frustrated by the poor weather in the NEK the first few days of October. But I've had to deal with such before, and at least the color was good. I was able to get quite a few good shots on these less-than-ideal days by following a few guidelines that I hope some of you will find useful.

Many of these are oriented specifically around photography, but most also apply to general sight-seeing.

1. Get up-close and personal

When it's overcast or raining, the tops of the mountains will usually be socked in, and even if not, the hazy view will dull the foliage. It's a waste of time to go touring around looking for long views or taking photos from the tops of ridgelines. Instead, concentrate on "micro-landscapes" that are closer at hand, such as shorelines, farms, animals, gardens and other close-in subjects.

2. Shoot items that are ideal in bad weather

Some subjects are actually better shot in bad than good weather. At the top of this list are waterfalls and streams, which are very hard to photograph in full sun. Dirt road scenes also work well.

3. Go slow

Take extra time and hunt out subjects and compositions; you may be surprised by what you find.

4. Use a polarizing filter

It will cut glare and reflection from wet surfaces and bring out color.

5. Keep your lens dry

Your camera can probably handle a bit of wet, but you need to keep it off the front of the lens, or the water drops will act like tiny lens elements and distort your pictures. Use a lens hood if you have one, or set up a picture and wipe the front with a lens cloth just before hitting the shutter button.

6. Watch for openings

Most cloudy or rainy days aren't cloudy or rainy for the entire day. Get online and load a radar loop to see where the rain is. Then, try to avoid those locations. If rain is approaching you, drive away from it until it "catches you" and then reverse direction and drive through it, so you spend as little time as possible getting wet. You can often also find "open spots" on cloudy days using a satellite loop.

7. Bracket

On shots that include the sky, you will have to deal with the clouds being much brighter than the ground. Try bracketing and combining shots in Photoshop.
I agree...

ixl
Posts: 938
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 12:01 am
Location: Southern VT
Contact:

Re: Dealing with cruddy weather

Post: # 16338Post ixl
Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:11 pm

This is the best tool for figuring out when and where it will be cloudy/rainy in Vermont "the day of".
Charles Kozierok - DesktopScenes.com

View Autumn Scenes from Southern Vermont (2003), my free, 75-image foliage gallery!

deaner1971
Posts: 449
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2003 12:01 am

Re: Dealing with cruddy weather

Post: # 16354Post deaner1971
Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:09 am

If I may add an additional item to Charles' excellent list: become a tourist!

I have been coming up since 96 (on-and-off early and pretty regularily of late...until this year :( ) as both a flyfisherman and a photographer and subject to the whims of the weather in both cases. I have come up solo, with my wife and with a group of friends.

I have had lots of rainy days but, provided they are not all I get, I have learned to cherish them a bit. They force me to slow down. In perfect weather, I am up well before dawn and on the road. Breakfast is McDonald's or a donut from the Stewarts in Manchester and then a wild rush to get to that day's destination.

But when it rains, I remember to take a step back and look at all that Vermont (in my case Southern Vermont) offers. Instead of donuts or food-like substances from McDonald's, I have breakfast or brunch at Up for Breakfast or Cafe Mamie (at the Southern Vermont Art Center through the weekend after Columbus Day and WONDERFUL, with nice views of the Battenkill Valley.) The SVAC is, itself, a worthy distraction for a few hours on a rainy day.

Small towns go from a blur in the windows or an accursed stop light to opportunities to shop for unique items for family and home.

There is not a darned thing wrong with a day spent shopping through the bazaar that is the Vermont Country Store or a couple of hours spent in Manchester's first hey day at Hildene. I forgot how much time (and my wife would argue money) can be spent wandering the Orvis headquarters store in Manchester. Bennington offers a vibrant downtown with history, unique shops like Bennington Pottery and good food at Crazy Russian Girls but I too often see it as a way-point on my way to and from Manchester or just the town around the towering monument.

I love waiting out a passing burst of rain within one of Vermont's covered bridges. I get to think about how many people had to also wait under its roof back when their transport lacked windshield, roof and wet weather defeating tires (and probably nibbled on some grass near the bridge while the owner waited).

And rather than seeing the end of the day as a fight to squeeze out the last of the light with every increasing ISOs and open shutters, I get to warm my chilled bones at one of Vermont's many, many great food destinations. Vermont probably leads every other state in seeing its restaurants move to using locally produced food and diners are the luckier for it. From local joints big on comfort food (personal favorite is a sports pub in Manchester called Mulligans where you can get everything from a hearty stew to a quality lobster roll) to varied and innovative fair (I recommend Manchester's The Perfect Wife whose owner/chef is Vermont's 2010 Chef of the Year) to more elegant experiences (I recommend Mio Bistro in Dorset or, if you just want a good old-fashioned steak, the Chop House at the Equinox in Manchester fits the bill - if a bit overpriced).

The same fertile soil that provides us with our fall glories also allows for growing and raising wonder ingredients that are then enchanted into delicious meals by some of the country's best chefs. Those same mountains that serves as our backdrops have inspried some of the country's best artists to create works worthy of being part of a family's traditions for generations to come.

Rainy days are just a chance to see the other side of the wonderous coin that is Vermont.


Andy
Posts: 1536
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2005 12:01 am
Location: Saginaw, Michigan
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Re: Dealing with cruddy weather

Post: # 16357Post Andy
Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:26 pm

Have to disagree with you, Snoid. I don't care if she wears a blindfold :mrgreen:
Andy

If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .

ctyanky
Board Admin
Posts: 3215
Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2007 7:22 am

Re: Dealing with cruddy weather

Post: # 16367Post ctyanky
Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:33 pm

Even Dean: This is the most beautiful essay on enjoying the true essence of Vermont I have ever read. It belongs in a magazine!

Amen! :D

deaner1971
Posts: 449
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2003 12:01 am

Re: Dealing with cruddy weather

Post: # 16372Post deaner1971
Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:11 am

ctyanky wrote:Even Dean: This is the most beautiful essay on enjoying the true essence of Vermont I have ever read. It belongs in a magazine!

Amen! :D
Thanks! :oops:

ixl
Posts: 938
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 12:01 am
Location: Southern VT
Contact:

Re: Dealing with cruddy weather

Post: # 16374Post ixl
Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:21 am

That was indeed a great essay, Dean. As a photographer I ignore all of that stuff but for those who want to just enjoy Vermont, your advice is spot on! :)
Charles Kozierok - DesktopScenes.com

View Autumn Scenes from Southern Vermont (2003), my free, 75-image foliage gallery!

Utah Baker
Posts: 632
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:45 pm

Re: Dealing with cruddy weather

Post: # 16381Post Utah Baker
Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:28 pm

Dean, beautifully said and I couldn't agree more, yes the foilage can be fantastic when you hit it spot on and I realize that is all some come for. But be prepared for Mother Nature is a fickle woman, and there is just so much more to Vermont than leaves!


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