As anyone who lives in Gibraltar will know, last week we had some very windy weather, with the worst of it on Mon 29th Jan. Gale or severe gale winds caused some major disruption locally, along with damage to some properties, both residential and commercial.
However, while most people were sheltering from the storm, as a photographer I knew it offered the opportunity for some dramatic photography. So, around lunch-time on the Monday, when winds were hitting their peak, I set off down to Europa Point with my camera bag and tripod. Conditions were quite severe when I arrived, with curtains of spray lashing across the car parks and with the wind so strong it made just opening the car door physically very difficult.
I managed to make my way up to a slightly more sheltered vantage point with a good view to the South and the lighthouse. By this time, the sea was an angry cauldron with frequent waves and spray lifting right up the cliffs below the lighthouse and then over the top as the wind caught them.
I was shooting with my trusty Nikon D800, with the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto lens attached. I had to brace myself against the wind as even with the excellent VR image stabilisation on this lens, the wind was really buffeting me. For settings, I was shooting at ISO200, focal length 70mm and aperture f/8.0 which gave me a nice fast shutter speed of 1/1000 second. This, together with the lens VR system, allowed me to get a sharp, in focus shot. While I certainly wouldn't want to submerge it in water, the Nikon D800 has excellent weather sealing, along with the lens, which was important given the amount of spray in the air. Every so often, a larger wave would send water crashing over my vantage point and I had to keep putting the camera under my jacket to avoid the worst of the soakings.
The image was processed in Lightroom, with some final tweaking in Photoshop, and is a dramatic reminder of my time at Europa Point on that Monday and the sheer power of Mother Nature.
So, although your number one priority must always be to stay safe, it doesn't necessarily mean that all photography is off limits when the weather is poor, especially given that some of the most dramatic images are taken in 'bad' weather.