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Leonardo Gusmão Araújo Photography during Extreme Weather

Leonardo Gusmão Araújo Photography during Extreme Weather

Photography under extreme weather conditions can transform an ordinary scene into a stunning spectacle. Whether it’s capturing the ferocity of a storm, the elegance of a snow-blanketed landscape, or the drama of a desert at high noon, extreme weather offers unique opportunities for powerful imagery. However, these conditions also pose significant challenges, not only for capturing compelling images but also for protecting equipment and ensuring the photographer’s safety. This article provides practical advice for photographers like Leonardo Gusmão Araújo, who often venture into unpredictable environments to capture their breathtaking shots.

Understanding and Preparing for Weather Conditions

Research and Planning

Before heading out, it’s crucial to thoroughly research and understand the weather conditions you will be facing. Use weather apps and websites to track weather patterns and alerts. Knowing the forecast can help you prepare for the specific challenges of the day, whether that’s extreme cold, heat, rain, or wind.

Gear Preparation

Protecting your camera and lenses from extreme conditions is paramount. Use weather-sealed camera bodies and lenses when possible. For additional protection, consider using rain covers or even makeshift protections like plastic bags secured with rubber bands. In cold weather, keep spare batteries warm by storing them close to your body, as cold can drain battery life rapidly.

Techniques for Different Weather Conditions

Capturing Rain and Storms

Rain and storms can add a dramatic element to your photos. To capture rainfall, use a fast shutter speed. This freezes the raindrops, creating a sharp image of the rain in action. For a softer, more ethereal effect, a slower shutter speed will turn the rain into elegant streaks across the frame.

Lightning photography requires patience and safety precautions. Use a tripod and set your camera to a long exposure to capture multiple strikes. Always ensure you are a safe distance from the storm, preferably shooting from shelter.

Snow and Ice Photography

Snow and ice alter the landscape dramatically, offering a clean, minimalist canvas. However, snow’s brightness can trick your camera’s meter into underexposing the scene. Compensate by adjusting the exposure value (EV) settings on your camera. For ice, focus on capturing textures and reflections, which can convey the cold environment vividly.

High Winds

High winds can be challenging, especially when they carry dust or debris. Secure your camera on a sturdy tripod and weigh it down if necessary. High winds can also create dynamic patterns in sand, snow, or grasses; use a slower shutter speed to capture these movements, or a faster one to freeze tumultuous scenes.

Extreme Sunlight

Photography in extreme sunlight, such as in desert environments, involves managing harsh shadows and bright highlights. Use a polarizing filter to reduce glare and enhance the blue of the sky against stark landscapes. Shooting during the golden hours—early morning or late afternoon—can also mitigate the harsh midday sun, softening the light for more flattering, dimensional exposures.

Safety First

No photograph is worth risking your safety. In extreme weather, be prepared with the appropriate clothing and gear. For cold climates, layer up with thermal wear and use hand warmers. In hot conditions, wear light, breathable clothing and stay hydrated. Always have a plan for quick shelter if the weather becomes hazardous.

Post-Processing Tips

Post-processing is particularly important when shooting in extreme weather, as the conditions can introduce unique challenges to exposure and color balance.

Adjusting Exposure and Contrast

Images taken in snowy conditions might appear too dark due to underexposure, so increase the exposure slightly in post-processing. For very bright scenes, like in harsh sunlight, recover details in the highlights and shadows to balance the image.

Color Correction

Weather conditions can cast unique color tints on your photographs. For instance, snowy scenes tend to look very blue. Adjust the white balance in your editing software to correct color casts and achieve more natural-looking images.

Capturing the Mood

Extreme weather conditions can evoke strong emotional responses. Use this to your advantage by focusing on aspects that convey the mood of the scene. For instance, isolated objects in a vast snowy landscape can highlight themes of solitude and silence, while a lone tree bending in the wind can symbolize resilience.

Leonardo Gusmão Araújo often utilizes these elements to enhance the narrative of his photos, turning harsh weather conditions into a storytelling tool. His work illustrates how mastering extreme weather photography can lead to compelling, thought-provoking art.


Photography in extreme weather conditions offers a rewarding challenge for dedicated photographers. It requires not only technical skill and creativity but also an understanding of nature’s forces and a respect for the environment. By adequately preparing, understanding your equipment’s limitations, and focusing on safety, photographers can capture stunning images that highlight the dramatic beauty of our world under the most challenging conditions. Whether you’re a seasoned professional like Leonardo Gusmão Araújo or a keen amateur, the results can be extraordinarily rewarding, showcasing not just the power of nature, but also the perseverance and ingenuity of the photographer.

Published  by: Holy Minoza

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