When The Weather Turns Bad Do You Pack It In? You Could Be Missing Some Great Footage!

Everyone loves to go out an film nature and wildlife on a warm, sunny day. I mean who wouldn’t?
Give me a warm Spring day with golden sunlight and I’m off with my video camera in a heartbeat.

So when we look at the weather report the night before and see grey skies in the forecast, do we decide to sleep in and scrub the morning shoot?
I don’t think you should and here’s a few reasons why.

The Weatherman Could Be Wrong

As hard as it is to believe, it happens.
A perfect example was the other day when I was planing on going out to film for the charity film challenge.
The weather report called for rain, grey skies and just general gloomy conditions.
The thing about the charity film challenge though is that you only have a short amount of time to complete the film. So you have to learn how to adapt and just make due.
Well, imagine my surprise when I rolled out of bed only to discover brilliant sunshine lighting up my back yard.
The entire day was sunny skies except near sunset when the clouds finally started rolling in.
Luckily I didn’t cancel my plans and went out and got some great footage.
So just because the weatherman says, doesn’t make it so.

I’ve Seen it Rain On One Side Of The Street And Not The Other

It was in Lansing, Michigan. It was raining on the other side of my street but I was in my front yard dry as a bone. I’ve never seen that happen before but the point is just because the weather is bad where you’re at, doesn’t mean it’s bad where you’re going.

Glacier National Park is famous for having rain on one side of the park and sunny skies on the other.
I encountered the same thing in Hawaii. In the Valley of the Rainbows it would be raining like crazy but when I drove out of the valley, sunny blue skies.
It never hurts to check weather conditions at your destination. You may find that the weather is great there.

It Can’t Stay Like This Forever

Checking out where the sun will be setting

For the Charity Film Challenge, I wanted to see what time the sun was going to set behind an arched tree. The skies were grey so I knew I couldn’t get the shot but I have an app on my iPhone that lets me see the path of the sun at anytime and date. So I knew that in a couple days the weather would be clear so I went out on that gloomy day just to see what time the sun would drop below the tree as well as where I needed to be positioned in order to get the sun where I wanted it to be.

So after the sun “set” even though I couldn’t see it from behind the clouds, hiking down the trail I noticed that the horizon was starting to clear. Even though the sun had set, the horizon was still on fire, mixing with the blues and purples of the approaching night. I think the footage really turned out great. If I hadn’t gone out to scout the path of the sun for a clearer day, I would have missed this shot.

Filming nature and wildlife is all about being there regardless of the weather conditions

After a cloud covered day, this was my reward for venturing out anyway.

Course, The Weatherman Could Be Right Too!

This time I chose to wait out the rain instead of shooting in it

Even when there’s not chance for bad weather in the forecast, you should always be prepared to protect your gear in the advent Mother Nature wants to open the flood gates. Course, it doesn’t have to be just rain, strong winds in desert areas can whip up sand that can scratch lenses and grind moving parts until they are useless.

Most of my camera bags have all weather covers that I can zip down over them to protect the bag as well as its contents. Sometimes even a plastic garbage bag will do the trick too.

So just because you think the weather MAY be bad, doesn’t mean it WILL be bad or that it will STAY bad. The whole reason I film nature and wildlife is to be out in nature and share that love of nature with others. So I’m not going to let a little bad weather deter me from getting out and enjoying nature and you shouldn’t let it deter you either.

Let me know what you think and please share this post with your friends and fellow filmmakers. I’d love to hear from you!

And as always, shoot the ordinary and make it extraordinary!

Kevin J Railsback is a wildlife and nature filmmaker