Is there a particularly conducive time of the year for Urbexing around ? Are there “Urbex prone seasons” ? Personally, and to paraphrase John Ruskin, I consider “there is no such thing as bad Urbex weather, only different kinds of good Urbex weather.”
However, as an ‘answer’, I realize this is rather inept. So let us briefly examine the issue.
To begin with, I recommend you avoid extreme weather events; scorching heat or snow blizzards, 100 MPH wind gush and torrential rain. Although these maybe photogenic, they make for perilous adventures. In my humble opinion, you want to return from an Urbex outing with glorious pictures, not spectacular injuries. But that’s just me.
…and remember kids; thunderstorms are just like sex: You never know how many centimeters you’ll get, and how long it’ll last.
Even milder atmospheric conditions can be demanding. Snow, for example, is not always benign. You can quickly find yourself at the business end of a storm and at the mercy of Mother Nature. No image is worth putting yourself in a position that can tear up your vehicle, your gear or require a rescue (and thus, most probably, an interesting talk with local law enforcement).
Snow will also weight heavily on potentially weakened structures…and your head is most likely not built to withstand a falling roof. Rain, on the other hand, will flood undeground acesses quickly (when it rains, no drains).
But it ain’t all bad…
For one thing, there are less guards in bad weather. Or at least, less guards touring outside.
In general, there will be less external roaming surveillance in rain, snow, or very cold weather. In shitty temperatures, security guards are more likely to stay in an office, looking at security camera screens. After all, a 12 Euro an hour job, is not necessarily great enticement to catch pneumonia.
That is also true of the general public, walking near building entrances. The worse the weather, the lesser the chance of being seen.
On a more ‘artistic note’, it is no secret that light will greatly be affected by the weather, or the season: in the winter very short days, darker skies will give your images an all around apocalyptic look. With overcast skies, the light will be diffused like in a giant lightbox giving delicates light and shadows. Golden hour will occur later in the morning and earlier in the evening. Hell, you could even consider night shots at 4 pm.
If it is cloudy and raining, there will be clouds and rain in your pictures, or at the very least, in their “feel”, and in my experience, that works well in an Urbex context; after all, as Hamilton said “concrete is, essentially, the color of bad weather.” Not to mention reflections in puddles
For my money, there is nothing more boring then a perfect, blue, cloudless sky. I am cumulus that way. Like wise, as you might imagine, foggy morning, dawn or dusk will offer a completely different feel to your photograph.
Knowing where the sun sets, (the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, in case you’re wondering) where the sun rises, and how the light will illuminate various subjects during different times of the day will also help you.
Snow, again, is a different story. It might make beautiful images, but it can also wreak havoc on your camera’s exposure meter, resulting in images that are under-exposed, or darker then you would otherwise expect. If your urbex scene is snowy, do yourself a favor and compensate by increasing your camera’s exposure by around 1 stop
So winter, has its perks. But so does summer….
Warm day light offers a extended tone palette.
Finally, on a more practical note, try not to change lenses in windy and wet conditions, there is a good chance that you’ll end up with debris inside your camera or lens.
Be aware of gear protection: water for camera, cold for batteries( very cold weather will kill your batteries. Even when not in use, they’ll still lose their charges).
Changes in temperatures will also fog up lenses, so don’t forget to bring microfiber towels or lens clothes.
Finally, your clothing should respect the weather. (see here) This also hold true for your foot wear. If you’re likely to encounter snow, rain puddles or ice patch, your shoes should be up to the task.