You don’t have to love the weather or be a scientist to appreciate a great picture of the atmosphere. It could be stormy or calm, when it’s perfectly framed and vibrant it just seems to pop. You may even be inspired to take these photos yourself but get frustrated when your final product never seems to be as vibrant or pop out like that picture you initially imagined. Don’t get frustrated, those great pictures you see are produced by professionals who have spent many hours and even years learning how to create that perfect shot. One of those professionals is Frank Little and one of our meteorologists had a chance to speak with him about his passion for photography along with his interest in weather.
Weatherboy: How long have you been interested in Photography?
Frank Little: Right after my daughter was born 12 years ago I became interested again in photography because I was taking pictures of her all the time. But I really became interested in photography when I picked up my first camera when I was six years old.
Weatherboy: Have you always been interested in capturing atmospheric phenomenon pictures and sunsets and sunrises or did that interest grow with your photography?
Frank Little: I’ve always been interested in taking pictures of sunrises, sunsets, scenic and cityscapes, but it was very sporadic. My real concentration was in candid, portraiture, and event photography. I really caught the bug for catching atmospheric phenomena, sunrises, and sunsets nine months ago when I took a free workshop on that type of photography.
Weatherboy: What type of equipment do you use. DSLR, Phone, or both? Do you do much post editing to the pictures before you publish them? Can you get great weather shots with a simple phone camera?
Frank Little: I primarily use DLSR. My primary camera is a Nikon D750 and I shoot with a number of lenses of different focal lengths. I do some post editing on the pictures to bring out their proper contrast, color, clarity, sharpness, exposure, and sometimes I do some cropping. As far as taking pictures with a phone camera, I find I can get good compositions but phone cameras, no matter how many pixels they have, always seem to lack the resolution that a DSLR has. I only use a phone camera when I have nothing else to shoot it with.
Weatherboy: Do you follow a weather forecast to try and predict when and where there will be great weather photo conditions?
Frank Little: Yes, I do use different weather apps to help to get an overall picture of what the weather is going to be, but more specifically I use apps to help me predict when storms are going to come in. I also use an app to help me predict the probability of having a very colorful sunrise or sunset. The problem with this last app is that it can be hit or miss.
Weatherboy: What types of weather can make for great pictures?
Frank Little: Thunder and lighting storms make for fantastic pictures. When a storm front is moving in, to photograph the contrast between the stormy skies and fair skies makes for some very interesting shots. And admittedly I have not been successful in catching many rainbows after the storm, but I’m hopeful to be successful in the future. Undisturbed snow and ice also make for some beautiful photography.
Weatherboy: Equipment aside, what advice can you give to someone that would want to capture great weather shots?
Frank Little: A lot of the weather related and cityscape photography I do involves long exposures. This allows for me weather-wise to show movement of clouds and water. Cityscape wise it allows me to create a deep depth of field with maximum color saturation. My advice would be to take a workshop on this particular type of photography or at the very least go to YouTube to find tutorials that address this subject. One of the most important pieces of advice I can give is that this type of photography requires research, planning, tenacity, and most importantly, patience. I’m not always successful in capturing what I set out to get the first time around. For as many successes I’ve had, I’ve had many more failures.
Using a tripod and a remote are two essentials in capturing the types of images that I capture because it involves long exposure. These items ensure that the camera remains stable and doesn’t shake.
One last piece of important advice is to follow the light. Lighting in a photo can make or break a picture. Lighting defines and accentuates any given shot. That’s essentially what cameras were designed to do: capture light.
Weatherboy: Do you notice one type of weather shot that always seems to get noticed more than others?
Frank Little: As far as weather shots go, lightning is probably the one thing that gets the most notice. As far as cityscape, shots that include a moonrise or a moonset are very, very popular.
Weatherboy: What’s your most memorable weather picture that you can remember taking? Sunset/rise? Distant storm? Water feature?
Frank Little: The most memorable shots that I recall taking are shots that involve the moon rising or setting around buildings, monuments, and bridges.
Frank Little’s work can be seen at https://www.facebook.com/FrankLittlePhotography/ and also viewed on Instagram at @franklittlephotography.