Being Fluid In Changing Conditions

Yo yo! I’ve just come back yesterday from a week-long later summer jaunt around West Yorkshire and the Nidderdale area. Beautiful part of the country! One of the best things about the transition from later summer into autumn is the blooming of heather, and if you want to see it in abundance then your best bet is in the Yorkshire Moors.

I’m still in the middle of editing all the images I shot from this trip, but one thing has risen in my mind that I wanted to make a point about it: don’t be too stubborn.

Why’s that?

With the shift in seasons from late summer to autumn comes the changeable weather patterns: you could be shooting in glorious sunshine one minute and then totally drenched by a passing cloud burst the next. This can be annoying, of course, but it can also result in spectacular light. And as a landscape photographer, I think it’s important to remember that what you’re really shooting is the light. Quality light conditions can transform a seemingly bland landscape into a magical experience. Conversely, dull light conditions can make an otherwise extraordinary landscape seem boring.

So let the change in light change your subjects, your mood, your colour palette, and your compositions. Remember to stay fluid. Take the following images from this recent trip as an example…


The two images here were shot only hours apart, but for me they take into account the changing light conditions.

The photo on the left had strong light with a few scattered clouds; all in all a lovely day. And to me, those conditions demanded rich colours and a sense of openness and space.

A few hours later I shot the image on the right. Clouds had moved in and rain was threatening. The softer light and moody skies to me needed muted colours and more dramatic and closed-in compositions. Shooting rich, bubbly colours with a deep, brooding sky would be a mismatch of atmosphere and subject.

I maintain that it’s still important to pre-visualise and research your landscapes so you can plan, as best you can, for such things as weather, light, access, and other variables… but remember to stay flexible and open-minded when conditions change.

Remember Bruce Lee? Be like water, my friend…