Photo Challenge Week 1 Recap: Bad Weather

Hi everyone! I’m incredibly impressed by all of the photos submitted for this first week of the Photo Challenge. I saw a lot of people really pushing their artistic boundaries with the topic of bad weather, and I’m even a bit jealous of some of the photos I’ve seen. Congratulations to everyone on a job well done!

Below are a few of my favorite photos from Week One. While there were many great photos, these in particular caught my eye, and seemed to me to really exemplify this challenge.

This week’s best shots

This first photo below, which shows a lightning storm over Bourbon Street in New Orleans, was submitted by Dan Rosner. Believe it or not, he actually shot this handheld! I love the colors, and of course the lightning, but what really makes it for me is the shadow of the statue on the building. This is a very creative shot. You can learn more about how Dan took this shot here.

This next shot was submitted by David Wissman, shot through a windshield on a rainy day. I like that he focused on the windshield and used a large aperture, letting the scene in the background go out of focus. The lights are rendered as attractive blurred orbs of color, something we’ll talk about later on in the Photo Challenge. You can learn more about David’s photo here.

Our next photo was taken by Michelle Barclay. I love how she shot this scene through falling rain, adding a dreamy look to the photo. The strong, colorful light was critical to the success of this image, as was the dark background, which helps make the sunlit rain drops stand out. You can learn more about Michelle’s image here.

Kelly Marquardt’s photo of a bald eagle flying in a blizzard shows us how much falling snow can enhance the mood of an image. The heavier the snow, the better! Shooting in such conditions can be challenging, and not every camera’s autofocus system is up to the challenge. You can learn more about this photo here.

This next shot by Aaron Harris demonstrates quite nicely what happens when stormy weather and great light collide: photo magic! When you have really great light, you can’t fall asleep on the job when choosing a composition; a bad composition can detract from the incredible colors, while a good composition allows you to create something that stands above the rest. Aaron did a great job here with his composition, creating artistic order out of the chaos of the Sonoran Desert. You can learn more here.

This photo by Nancy Morelli really grows on me the more I look at it. I like how she took something that most people wouldn’t have thought to point a camera at—her glass-topped patio table—and created art. Without some bad weather bringing rain, this shot wouldn’t have happened. You can learn more here.

Okay, I’m a sucker for lightning shots. This one by Michael Andrews really stood out to me because of the color contrast between the white fence and the blue clouds in the background. I love this color palette! You can learn more here.

Jo Garner Fields took this next photo in London after a passing rain storm. I love the reflections caused by the water on the sidewalk, the overall progression of visual elements from near to far helping to draw the viewer deeper into the composition, and of course the rainbow in the background! You can learn more here.

This next photo by Erika Maleta captures the wintry landscape of the Great Lakes region of the Midwestern United States. I love how different kinds of bad weather contribute to this image. First, there is the heavy snow covering everything. Second, the dull, cloudy skies that seem to hang over the Great Lakes in winter actually enhance the winter mood, as they turn blueish in color at sunrise and sunset. Just a little bit of complementary color, in this case the hint of warmth along the horizon, helps to create a pleasing color palette. You can learn more here.

I’ll round out this week’s selection with a beautiful wildlife shot by Greg Speasi. Cold weather can help create fog in the morning, and if you get lucky, like Greg did here, with some strong light at sunrise, the fog will bathe the entire scene in brilliant color. I like how Greg chose a low perspective, adding some out of focus foreground to the image, giving it some depth and enhancing visual interest. You can learn more here.

So there you have it! With so many wonderful photos, it was very difficult to pick just a few. If you have any questions about any of these photos, just follow the links provided above and leave a comment directly for the photographer in the Facebook post. As a reminder, you can participate in the Photo Challenge by signing up here, and then you can share your own shots from each week’s assignment in the Photo Challenge Facebook group.

I’m looking forward to seeing what you all do with Week Two. Good luck!


About the author: World-renowned professional photographer and Tamron Image Master Ian Plant is a frequent contributor to several leading photo magazines and the author of numerous books and instructional videos. You can see more of Ian’s work at

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One Response to “Photo Challenge Week 1 Recap: Bad Weather”

  1. Dan Rosner

    Mr. Plant...What an amazing surprise for you to pick the 10 best for the week, and what an honor to be chosen! Thank you for your kind comments on my lightning shot from NOLA. I have been following your work for a little while now, and own a few of your ebooks. It means a lot to me that you saw something special in my work. Thank you.