When the Weather Gives You Lemons…

There I sat.

Just me, my camera set on a tripod, and a chair.

In the middle of an open field in front of a barn I up at the sky to see what was going on.

Nothing had changed.

There were some breaks in the clouds, but the sky was predominately overcast.

I checked my phone again.

Just thirty minutes until the lunar eclipse would be at its peak.

I could still see about 25% of the moon and decided to go ahead and get a shot that could possibly work for something. After all, I didn’t want to go home empty handed.

I changed my camera to a thirty second exposure instead of a slightly quicker one I had planned to use to capture the lunar eclipse sequence. That idea had died about three hours previous due to more cloud cover.

Click, snap, click. Thirty seconds came and went.

I hit play on my camera to see what I got.

Not bad. A decent long exposure photograph at night with one of my favorite barn structures in the foreground.


You could still see the moon, and the clouds tracked some in the 30 seconds that the shutter was open.

I turned my camera back off and put the lens cap on so the glass wouldn’t fog in the humid night.

I sat back down hoping that maybe God would part the clouds and I’d get a glimpse of the red moon I wanted to see.

Another hour passed.


A long zip, a beep of my car unlocking, and a clang on the farm gate as I pulled out. I was gone. The end of a long, disappointing night.

Ansel Adams once said that landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer, and often the supreme disappointment. While that’s not the most encouraging quote, and this story has not been the most uplifting trip down memory lane, it’s all too familiar for those of us who rely on weather so much. More times than not, there are major events that are ruined by clouds and rain.

Here’s the test of the photographer, though…

Are you going to pout, or will it drive you to get the shot next time?

Will it make you more determined to produce great work?

Will you work with the weather instead of against it and use your knowledge of photography to catch a shot that the weather allows?

I guess the answers are up to you.

But I’m going to make lemonade when the weather give me lemons. And I’m going to get the shot next time.

Luckily I did take another photo of the sunset prior to the moon event that turned out well!