Late fall and winter weather is happening in the northern hemisphere, and it presents different photography challenges. The weather plays an important part at this time of the year. It is more likely to be windy, stormy, rainy, foggy or snowy at our outdoor destinations. The leaves have left the trees in many areas, giving fewer hiding places for wildlife and birds. The landscape takes on a different “feeling” than the warmer months of spring and summer. The colors change, and daylight hours are shorter.
During strong winds and stormy weather, birds seek refuge in sheltered areas. This image below was taken during strong winds. This great blue heron is sheltered from the winds by the marsh grasses, and is feeding in the shallow water. In this image, he is cleaning his feet. There were several great blue heron roosting in the tall grass behind this bird. The weather brought these birds closer to the walk-way through the marsh, and made them easier to photograph. Other birds finding shelter in the marsh were Northern Shovelers (ducks) and Killdeer. Small song birds were feeding in the cattails and trees.
The beach is a wonderful location during high winds or stormy weather. In this photograph, the wave is coming into shore, and is about 4-6 feet tall. It wasn’t raining, but the winds were very strong. It is good to watch the surf, before going onto the beach, to see where the high-water mark is at. Even with this information, the wind can send waves higher on the beach. On the ocean, these are called sneaker-waves. They can pull people into the water, and can be deadly. It is important to be prepared for the environment and weather.
It is important to wear the appropriate clothing for adventures during the winter. Hypothermia can affect those who are not prepared for rain, wind, snow and colder temperatures. It is good to dress in layers, with a good water-repellent shell over the top. The wind will drop the temperature (wind-chill factor), and the cold can hurt exposed areas of skin (hands, fingers and faces). It is important to wear footwear that will keep feet warm and dry. This type of equipment can be found at outdoors stores, such as ski shops or REI.
Camera batteries will lose their charge faster in the colder weather. It is good to bring an extra battery, and keep it in a warm place (pocket near body heat). Most camera equipment is water-resistant, but it depends on the manufacturer and model of the equipment. It is good to keep the gear dry with a good camera bag (water-proof), covering for the camera/lenses and a quick-dry cloth to dry any water that does get onto the equipment.
The photograph below illustrates being prepared for the weather. More later. . .