So on the day that it was announced that Northern Ireland has just had the UK's wettest July, it seems like August is determined to follow suit - with more rain and lots of storm clouds.

Now, whilst most sane people may well be complaining about the awful weather whilst looking jealously at those who are off in sunnier climes at the moment posting on Facebook about the baking temperatures and the clear blue skies, that strange bred called the Northern Irish Photographers are spending most of their time checking the skies - in hope that a dirty big storm cloud may just be about to pass over. Oh, how we love our dramatic weather!

In keeping with my fellow togs, I want to share a few images taken over the past couple of days in the midst of all this glorious horrible weather. I got thoroughly soaked on both occasions to bring you these shots - and I loved every minute of it!

Dunluce Castle

When I arrived, a great big storm cloud was passing over to the North.

And then the rain came for me! I beat a hasty retreat for the car, only for the rain to quickly clear - and for me to quickly get into position for a shot I'd been after for a wee while now. All I needed was the right light - and that evening delivered! I'd spotted the remains of the wee wall, dangling precariously over the edge of the cliff (who even builds these things?!). The sun broke through the cloud, giving me the side light I wanted. And the remains of the storm clouds lit up pink. I was one happy photographer, if a little on the wet side.

With the sun now casting a long reflection on the water, I changed position for some other shots as it set.

With the sun still shining in the sky, the grass picked up some highlights of light. Within 5 minutes, the scene changed once more, as the sun dropped below the horizon. The warm tones disappeared from the grass, and the whole scene became more subtle and subdued.

All these photos, taken in the same location within one hour of each other. Courtesy of our lovely awful weather!


Belfast

You don’t always have to be on the north coast to make the most of our dramatic weather. The centre of Belfast can do too!

Cue another day of dramatic weather, and a wee journey to the River Lagan, in the hope of being treated to the right conditions at just the right time.

And again, there was a wonderful variety of lighting conditions within a short space of time. A deep and intense storm cloud came past just after I arrived, its leading edge literally rolling through the sky behind the Obel Tower, while the light from the low sun underlit its leading edge. In conditions like this, my FUji XT-10 really comes into its own. I set the Film Simulation to Classic Chrome, perfect for the steely grey/blues in the skies above, and shot away.

Soon after, the roll cloud rolled away (but not before dumping a veritable deluge on me for all of 3 minutes), leaving behind a more gentle cloudscape, still being underlit by the setting sun.

By the time the sun had set, the storm clouds had pretty much passed over, leaving whispy tendrils of cloud strewn across the sky, perfect to be painted in a riot of warm colours by the sun that had disappeared behind Belfast’s Hills.

So, we may not be getting our classic barbecue and sunbathing weather. And that might make most of you quite disappointed. But us photographers are seeing more than enough of our silver linings (an pink, and purple, and gold linings too) to keep us happy!


PS My buddy Stephen Wallace decided he'd had enough of my photographic good luck with light, so he sent me a version of one of these pics...!

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