4 Unconventional Locations to Photograph in Bad Weather


For those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s now coming into the cozier and colder time of year. Fall is great with all its colours, but the dead of winter can leave photographers feeling drab and uninspired. Check out my four spots to photograph when the weather turns inclement to keep you photographing all through the seasons.

Arcades

Having a small child lands me in many bright and colorful areas, including games arcades and play centres. These are a pleasure with opportunity for photography, even if it’s just a bit of fun. The neon lights lend themselves to some tungsten balanced film or even some long exposures if you have the time and ND filters prepared for it. I love how much is going on in these places and the nostalgic feeling they give off.

You do have to be careful your shots don’t end up looking messy, so be sure to crop in a bit and really focus on one interesting part of a whole scene. This is such a great opportunity to really play with color in your compositions and time the flashing lights just right to match another color in the shot.

If you are a street photographer, these places are normally pretty full and photographer-friendly as everyone is snapping away already, making memories on their phones, so take advantage of the people around you to make interesting work and tell a story. This is my number one go-to if the weather is bad. I even shot a pack of Polaroid films or two inside an arcade and was very pleased with the results. It felt like the perfect match of two nostalgic things coming together to make a picture.

Parking Garages

This one sounds a little odd, I will admit. I will also admit that I have been approached by a passersby or two and even a security guard asking what I was up to. I am used to this now and just embrace the opportunity to explain and hopefully have an interesting interaction with someone. You may be asking: why would anyone want to photograph a parking garage? Allow me to elaborate and turn you into the church of parking garages.

Underground parking garages are literally full of compositions just waiting to be had, and a photo series could well be made with this as a location. Things on offer or to look out for include:

  • Lines, arrows, and signs creating patterns and repetition.
  • Colored pillars creating symmetry.
  • Cool or classic cars parked and ready to be shot.
  • Electrical boxes, exposed wires, pipes, anything creating patterns and leading lines through your composition.
  • Trash or storage areas that may have interesting scenes or machinery lying around.

It sounds like a weird thing to go after, but I often find myself wandering into yet another multi story car park hoping to finish off a roll of film or grab some shots on my little Fujifilm X20 with the built-in flash to make everything pop . Try it yourself. There is more than you think to work with.

The Supermarket

Sometimes, we pass by multiple shooting opportunities while going about our daily tasks. Photography legends like William Eggleston really paved the way for the rest of us when it comes to capturing the everyday mundane qualities of life, and the supermarket is a great example of this.

Just think of all that brightly colored fruits and vegetables sitting pretty under those fluorescent lights or the repetition the fridge section creates with rows and rows of milk bottles with varying labels. Trolleys are either all lined up in perfect form or sit lonesome outside in a precarious position perfect for your next frame. The places we visit daily are often a drag. Getting the groceries, or parking the car, going to IKEA: these are all things we tend not to enjoy. Maybe they can be creative opportunities instead.

Speaking of IKEA, after a bout of bad weather and no chance of getting out to photograph, I challenged myself to shoot a whole roll of film in IKEA with my mother and one-year-old in tow. I rose to the challenge and shot all 36 exposures! I was left surprised with how easy it was too. IKEA could, in fact, be the best place to shoot out of all recommendations. For lovers of color, it’s heaven, and there is so much to play with on every level of the giant homewares store.

Your house

You don’t even need to leave your house to take photos. Sometimes, we forget this. Last year, my partner and I did an entire shoot in our living room, turning it into a studio with a projector and gels. We had a blast, and the results were super cool. It’s amazing what you can turn a space into with something like a cheap sunset lamp or an old projector. In a world where inflation is out of control and we are all looking to save a bit of money, these cheap tools can be more than enough and push you to think outside the box.

I have had an idea for a photography project for a while, and some bad weather would actually be a welcome push to get me started on it. I would love to photograph all my most precious belongings so as to preserve them in case of anything unfortunate, like my little boy getting his hands on them. This acts as a sort of product or still-life style of photography, which would be new to me and would be a way I could experiment and expand my portfolio.

If you are lucky to have a great light in your house, then use that to your advantage. I see so many beautifully aesthetic shots on Instagram with dappled light or lines of sunshine coming through the curtains. The rain is also a great thing to photograph, and it falling on your windows or in your garden can make for beautiful shots as well.

Honorable Mentions

I also love taking photos inside the cinema when I visit, as the velvet texture of the chairs just looks so rich, and the red color often looks great on film.

Another favorite of mine and my partner is the inside of restaurants or cafes. Again these are places you are already going to anyway, so why not bring a camera and get creative. I love the design of the furniture in restaurants or the lanterns and cool signs in Chinatown dumpling houses.

Whichever option you choose, there is so much room for creativity, not to mention the prospect of a possible photography series or project that can turn into something really worth your while. Let me know in the comments if you have another spot you frequent during wet weather.





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