After the Storm, We Get Spectacular Light

Even with all the planning, the one thing you can't control is the weather. But if you wait out the storm, you can sometimes get some spectacular light.

We've all been there: meticulous planning using all the weather apps and online forecasts, moving locations to outmaneuver the incoming storm so that you don't get utterly soaked, or even worse, your gear gets drenched, all in the quest for a decent photograph.

We had planned this short trip to Ullapool on the northwest coast of Scotland, watching the weather forecast as we neared the time of departure, knowing that the recent storms would have passed and that the next ones were due four days after our trip. Oh, how wrong we were. Yes, I'm being a little bit dramatic, as it wasn't so much a few stormy days, more torrential downpours and high winds, but well worth waiting them out to catch the light afterward.

A Break in the Weather

We spent most of the time either sheltering in rocks or back at the car, waiting for the break in the weather, due to the torrential downpours. When a break in the weather did come, it provided some spectacular light for our locations. This type of scenario is something I'm sure a lot of you know all too well, waiting it out, wondering if it will break and provide the light or just stay a gray overcast sky. I've got to admit, however, if it wasn't for the strong winds, I do think it would've stayed gray and we would have seen no light.

My Gear Was Not Getting Soaked

The rain would halt briefly, we would grab a couple of shots and then run and hide. When the light broke after the downpour, the winds were so strong, though, that the audio would have been totally inaudible and no form of dubbing or captions would have made for anything remotely viewable. As such, there was no point in recording a YouTube video. Plus, there is no way I could have anchored my camera to stop it from being blown over.

It's All About The Light

The video takes a look at some of the images from the trip, including a quick run-through of some of the edits, and as you can probably tell, the video aspect of the trip never came to pass as I had hoped. I did, however, manage to get some lovely images after the storm, when the light broke through, providing a striking contrast with the marram grass against the gray sky and a lovely white-walled beach cottage thrown into the composition. This was my favorite image from the few days and made the whole experience worth it even more.

You can check out the video above. I'd love to hear in the comments trips that haven't gone according to plan for you yet have yielded some of your favorite images.

Gary McIntyre's picture

Gary McIntyre is a landscape photographer and digital artist based on the west coast of Scotland. As well as running photography workshops in the Glencoe region, providing online editing workshops, Gary also teaches photography and image editing at Ayrshire college.

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My wife and I live in the Willamette in Oregon wine country. There's no smokestack industry here but there's a lot of farming. So we get a lot of farm dust which makes for some super crazy spectacular sunrises and sunsets. But after a rainstorm here we get what I call "rainbow light" and when that happens even if there are no rainbows the pictures I do get can be pretty amazing. This was after a fairly heavy rainstorm. Heavy enough we stayed in the car until it passed