First, remember that you do have a variety of shutter speeds to play with. As wind is moving your choice of shutter speed is very important. Landscape workers often decide to use the AV rather than the TV option as they consider controlling the depth of field to be more important. While, in many situations, that is the right thing to do, when photographing in wind it often proves more useful to consider the shutter speed as your first priority. It could be that you want to photograph some object being blown in the wind, which requires a fast shutter speed. Alternatively, capturing the moving clouds might be another way of illustrating winds, which requires using a long shutter speed.
Sudden gusts of wind can pose a problem, particularly if you are using a tripod, so find a natural barrier. If that proves impossible then use your body as a shield by standing between the tripod and the prevailing wind. The weight of your tripod will have a bearing on its capacity to withstand wind (the heavier it is the better) but it should also be possible to anchor the tripod down by using your camera bag. Many tripods have a specially adapted hook for this.
Don’t overlook image stabilisation. Whether it is part of the lens or integrated into the body of the camera, make sure your image stabilisation is switched on as it can go a long way to countering the problem of a sudden gust of wind.
If you are hand-holding your camera be prepared to increase the ISO rating to overcome any camera shake caused by strong wind. You are particularly vulnerable when using a long lens. The general rule of thumb is to set the shutter speed no lower than the focal length of the lens so, if you are using a 100mm lens, set the shutter speed no less than 1/100th second. If, however, you are shooting in very gusty winds, be prepared to double that. This should significantly reduce unintentional camera shake.
Just occasionally a bit of deliberate ‘camera shake’ can enhance the image. By deciding to use a lower shutter speed and moving the camera during the exposure quite interesting effects can be achieved. If you decide on this option don’t be half-hearted or it could look like a mistake.
Some locations you might consider when looking for the effect of wind:
- Bushes and trees
- Grasses and cereal crops
- The beach
- The sea and waves
- Powdery snow
- Industry and billowing smoke