Weather Gamblers Anonymous

“Hi, my name is Jeff, and I’m addicted to gambling.”

Cloudy Sunrise Over Whaleback Light

I gamble on the weather.

A lot.

When it comes to landscape photography, the more dramatic the weather the better. And my “habit” is to gamble that I’ll get the shot I want before the weather closes in. To me there is nothing more boring than a crystal clear, cloudless blue sky when it comes to my landscape photographs.

No clouds = no drama.

No drama = boring photograph.

And that’s how my habit keeps me going back over and over until I get the photograph I want.

Sometimes, in some of the worst weather I’ve ever encountered.

Whiteout conditions in Tuckerman Ravine

My gambling habit requires me to pay close attention to the weather when planning a photo outing. Both for safety reasons, (notice the near white-out conditions and avalanche debris field in the above photo of Tuckerman Ravine), and to help increase the odds I’ll get the dramatic light and cloud filled sky I’m after.

If there is a weather system moving through, and there is even a chance that the sun will find a break in the clouds near the horizon at or near sunrise or sunset, I want to be there to capture it.

To gamble and lose.

Imagine this next photo with no clouds in the sky.


Even with the clouds, this was a gamble I feel I lost. The weather to the west slammed the door on the sun well before sunset, thus leaving me with an image I’m not entirely happy with. More than a few people have told me they really like this photo. When I look at this, and other “weather gambles” that didn’t fully pay off, quite often all I see are the photos I didn’t get.

Yet another push deeper into my habit.

Mt. Starr King And The Pliny Range Over Cherry Pond, Winter.


Here are a few more examples, most are images you may have seen in earlier posts, where my habit of gambling on the weather didn’t pay off entirely the way I’d hoped.

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54 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Habit

    1. Thank you. If only I could see what you and others so easily see. When I go back after the memory of the slight disappointment of the day isn’t so fresh, and look at images like these, I am able to see them for what they are. It’s during, and right after capturing them that there is the mild disappointment of not having captured what I was after. And it is a mild disappointment. One of the great things about the photos I make, or I should say the subject of the photos I make, is the fact that they aren’t going anywhere and I can keep going back as many times as it takes in hopes of having the ideal conditions I’m after.

      Of course when/if I do capture exactly what I’m after, I immediately start thinking of how I can do it better the next time. I’m never completely satisfied, and that’s what really keeps me going.

    1. Look who’s talking. Whenever I actually point my camera at an actual person, instead of my normal subject matter, you are the standard by which I judge my results. And boy do I have a long way to go to measure up.

      1. Me too. I even researched how safe it is to be in my car during a lightning storm. I have come to the summation that photographing lightning and getting hit by it is less than getting in a car accident while driving. At least that’s what I tell myself.

        1. If it eases your mind at all, I have a friend who’s gotten some really great lightening shots from the back of his Jeep, with nothing but the soft top to “protect” him. So far he hasn’t been zapped.

  1. I knew you were on clever sod but, you have made me laugh with this latest show of ingenuity. I have to disagree – that landscape photo would not be boring without clouds – it would be less dramatic for sure, but landscape and natural beauty like this – no sir, I can’t see it boring in any scenario.

    1. Me, clever? Hardly. I am glad I could make you laugh though πŸ˜€ I do see your point, it is a spectacular view from one of my all time favorite places in New Hampshire. But I do like it so much better with some nice dramatic clouds in the sky.

  2. You’re a tough task master on yourself, but that is for the good. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a disappointing photo from you (and hopefully that doesn’t reflect badly on me!) But when you see something in person and have an idea how it should translate, I understand that sometimes what you get, even if wonderful, may not be what you would have like to have captured.


    1. Janet, you have no idea. Even if I make the exact photograph I envision, almost immediately I’m imagining how I can do it better the next time. “If only the clouds came in this way,” “if only the sun would light that mountainside over there.” It’s a never ending battle that keeps me striving for the perfection I’ll never reach. It’s one of the things that keeps me going.

      1. Jeff, unless it gets to be an obsession, it’s all for the good. I was that way when I was teaching and home schooling and for most things I do in life, although I’ve learned to relax a bit as I’ve gotten older and, hopefully, wiser. πŸ™‚

  3. well… I wish I’d lose that often… that my failed pictures would look like what you called your failed pictures, because, really, there’s nothing failed in these; I suppose the weather could have given you better colors in some, but… oh my! I’d be happy with just these!
    Enjoy the pic’!

    1. Thank you! I’m glad you and everyone else seem to enjoy my “failures” so much. I guess failures isn’t even the right word for them. I do recognize them as decent photographs, maybe unsuccessful would be a better way to describe them, since they aren’t exactly what I was after.

      1. all right then, we’ll talk about “unsuccessful” for you then because you had something different in mind, which I completely understand; I can also spend a lot of time trying to figure out the right settings for a simple picture because it doesn’t come out the way I see it with my eyes or with my mind…

        a way to learn, for sure!

    1. Thank you, Beth. I do appreciate them more now that some time has passed since I made them. Still, with each and every one of these, and many others just like them, I can look at the photo and remember just what I had been hoping for at the time.

    2. Beth, you are far too kind. Definitely “missed opportunities,” that’s for sure. On the other hand, if I made every photograph I wanted to make every time I went out, I think I’d get bored very quickly. The fun is in the hunt. And receiving comments like yours of course πŸ˜‰

Comments and thoughtful critiques are always welcome.

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