I've started to realize over the past year or so that one of my favorite times to capture images is in or right after "bad" weather. I don't take many photos of actual storms, I'm usually into the grand or intimate landscapes often around sunrise or sunset. What I've realized is that overcast or foggy weather is one of the greatest ways to simplify an image, and I like simple images. In these weather conditions the sky and therefore the rest of the image is more uniformly lit, and the details are softer even without a shallow depth of field or a long exposure. It's a natural way to bring in focus to the subject and has the added benefit of an emotion that is difficult to replicate with a clear sky.
The first image here is probably the first one that helped me to realize how great this kind of weather is in creating simple artistic images. It was taken on the south shore of Long Island right after a thunderstorm while the sun was setting. I purposely went out after the storm because I saw that it was breaking and thought it would look kind of interesting with the sun setting below a thick layer of clouds. I think I was right, but I honestly never really thought about this kind of image showing up there until I arrived. It's still one of my favorite images because of how simple it is both in composition and color while still having an emotional pull to it.
This is another photo that I took in the same kind of conditions several months later. Whenever there is a storm now I check to see if it's going to break before sunset to try to get similar results. I want it to break within about an hour or two of sunset so that just enough color and light are able to come through between the clouds and the horizon. Here I used a very shallow depth of field to smooth out the background and bring in focus to the beam that leads you into the center of the sunset. There is more detail in the foreground here, but I think it gives a similar simplistic and emotional feeling. The sky is simple, burning pink into magenta above the thin line of the yellow sunset. If it was just a few clouds or a clear sky it would have a very different feel. The ominous dark emotion of the sky with the peaceful light from the sun below it would not have been easily replicated with a clear or slightly cloudy sky. If this image was taken without overcast skies it may have had a similar color palette and overall look, but it probably wouldn't be as emotional and would feel more complex.
This photo is very different from the first two. It's not a sunset picture, it's in black and white, and was taken in foggy weather rather than right after a storm. I think it has a similar effect of minimalism though. The fog takes away the background so you just have a few ripples of water going into nothing. The moody emotion of this is helped out by the lack of color, but the fog is what really brings the focus in to the details of the subject.
These conditions help a lot in trying to convey a certain emotion in an image. It's often the subtle things that you might not even realize are there that can make an image, so I was pretty happy when this idea of how to use weather like this to my advantage really clicked.