I just returned from a 4-day shoot at Bryce Canyon National Park. Though we have been inundated with snow in Eastern Idaho this winter, I was dismayed to find the ground in Salt Lake City nearly clear as I drove through. Knowing that Bryce - though topping out at 9,100 feet - had also just experienced its first warm snap of the winter, I wondered what I'd find there. After all, one visits Bryce the first week of February hoping for winter conditions....not an early taste of springtime!
Fortunately, there was indeed snow - and plenty of it. In fact, the far southern end of the park was still closed following a recent storm. (Unfortunately, this meant I would be unable to access the bristlecone pines which had been on my shot list. Since it was winter conditions I was seeking, that was a price worth paying.)
With the exception of a snowstorm (the aftermath of which would have been great), I encountered just about every other type of condition. Clear blue skies, a few colorful sunrises, snow squalls, complete overcast, fog, high winds and extreme cold, borderline uncomfortable warmth....you name it.
Long distance location shoots can be a challenge. All the careful prior planning often ends up tossed out the window as improvisation - and perseverance - instead become the name of the game. The weather cannot be controlled! If you've driven hundreds of miles to get to your workplace, then you must make do with whatever is encountered.
With an eye on both the sky and the clock, and keeping track of the forecast, you do your best to position yourself optimally to take advantage of what Mother Nature is serving up. If conditions are changeable, you must have the patience to wait - and wait some more - to see what happens at a given location. Sometimes this is time very well spent. On other occasions, it's just......time spent.
A little bit of luck never hurts, either.