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  • Writer's picturePaul Cotter

When Dark Clouds Roll In


Dark clouds roll in behind a town in Ireland

(Spoiler alert: This is a story about photography, but there's also a deeper message.)


In my early days of photography I looked for bright sunny days, assuming that the most beautiful days would naturally yield the best photographs. But I soon learned the wisdom of what the master photographer Ansel Adams said: “Bad weather makes for good photography.”


Ansel was right. For landscapes, the view becomes far more dynamic when there’s drama in the sky. For portraits, harsh sunlight and dark shadows will soften when the sun goes behind clouds, presenting more flattering photos of faces.


Bad weather is good for photography. And I believe it’s essential for a life lived fully.


When dark clouds roll into our lives, that’s when we have the greatest opportunities for growth.


It’s the difficult times that challenge us and strengthen us. It's the times of adversity that mold our character by showing what we're capable of. It's the times of heartache that unlock our compassion because we understand what others are going through.


If life were nothing but blue skies and sunshine, photography – and life – would be a lot less enriching.





P.S. If you enjoyed this post, consider sharing it with a friend or posting to your social media account.

10 Comments


lorasapp123
Jul 05, 2023

Beautiful picture and such beautiful words!

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Paul Cotter
Paul Cotter
Jul 06, 2023
Replying to

Thank you so much, Lora. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

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dawnastromsoe
Jul 05, 2023

I’ve long remembered my high school photography teacher who said the most memorable, most thoughtful photographs are in black & white…the composition, contrasts & gradations of greys are like Life. The depths of Life are missed if we only photograph in color.

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Paul Cotter
Paul Cotter
Jul 05, 2023
Replying to

Your former photography teacher made some wonderful observations. I know some photographers who shoot exclusively in black and white ... and some who insist on shooting everything in color. I like to make a decision based on each image which way I will go with it. For this moody photo from Ireland, black and white was definitely the way to go.

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slig249
Jul 05, 2023

The photo is beautiful, Paul! And when the darkest of clouds roll in, it makes us appreciate even a glimpse of a brighter day! I hope the brighter days are ahead! Our strength comes from the storms that roll into our lives, and some of us may never know the strength that we hold within!

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Paul Cotter
Paul Cotter
Jul 05, 2023
Replying to

Thank you, Bev. I really like the perspective you shared: "... when the darkest of clouds roll in, it makes us appreciate even a glimpse of a brighter day!" That's so true. And so is your comment, "some of us may never know the strength that we hold within"

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therkgroup
Jul 05, 2023

The location looks amazing and the capture equally so. Living in WNY, that sky looks familiar for our late to early winters. I would agree that adversity or uncommon events heighten and challenge but the outcomes prove experientially valuable whether good or bad. This image and its location are nothing but good.

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Paul Cotter
Paul Cotter
Jul 05, 2023
Replying to

Thank you, Ron. I photographed this during our travels in Ireland. The weather reminded us very much of WNY, and it was one of our all-time favorite trips.

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scadutoit
Jul 05, 2023

Your perspectives are always enlightening and resonate with your community on many different levels. The visual learner in me resonates with the photo. I selfishly hope you continue posting Paul! Take care.

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Paul Cotter
Paul Cotter
Jul 05, 2023
Replying to

Thank you, Andrew. I'm glad you enjoy the blog -- and yes, I plan on sharing my reflections for a long time to come.

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