Only the wrong clothes, a popular saying, but this equally applies to your camera equipment. Outdoor photography is a quest for the perfect light, but since modern life gets in the way, we hardly ever have the time available when the light is at it’s best. So we have to adapt and work with what we have.
Some great shots can be taken in ‘poor’ weather, and if you are out there, then if the weather rapidly changes, which in the UK it often does, you are on the spot to take full advantage of it.
The first priority though is still you, the right clothes for the environment is essential, if you are not comfortable (and dry) you will not perform at your best, the pictures you take will reflect this. It is better to take less camera equipment and have the right personal equipment, do you really need a bagful of lenses on this trip? You are unlikely to change lenses in harsh environments, ie on a windy beach or in dense fog, so consider just taking a single lens, you’ll be surprised how liberating this can be.
The second priority is to be safe, it is better to fight another day, than endanger yourself or your equipment. Understand the implications of your environment and the weather, it’s easy to misjudge the path you are following in mist and fog, and a wrong turn can be catastrophic. Tides can move quickly, don’t get caught out especially if you can’t see the shore, rain and ice can make rocks very slippery, just use your head and take care. Follow the usual rules and let someone know where you are going. Be Safe!
Weather Sealed and Weather Resistant are just that, they are not usually waterproof! They provide a seal against dust and moisture and are not intended to be used in torrential rain! If the weather forecast indicates a lot of rain, use a waterproof cover for the camera, commercial ones are available, some very cost effective, though a good strong plastic bag can be adapted if you are caught out. Umbrellas can be useful, but these are not good in strong winds, and often restrict camera operation to a single hand. Clamps are available to attach umbrellas to tripods but beware a decent gust of wind, the umbrella will act like a sail and take the whole lot over. Better to hold the umbrella over the tripod and operate the camera with one hand.
Don’t think that weather proof only applies to cameras, most tripods are not salt resistant, so using them regularly in the sea can accelerate corrosion, causing an expensive failure at some point in the future. Lens Elements and Filters attract water droplets with ease, it’s amazing how much airborne water there is even a decent distance from a waterfall or in mist/fog, so suitable cleaning cloths are essential. A lens hood can be very helpful is keeping some of the worst of the weather away, and provides some protection against falls and knocks.
But the upside is, that there are some amazing and unique photographs to be had, it’s likely that there will not be many people about so you can have the scenery to yourself. Often there is less dynamic range in the light, so your camera will capture the scene without blowing highlights or loosing shadows. Embrace the conditions and you will be rewarded.