In addition to the DSLR bodies themselves, I have an array of filters, polarizers, plate holders and trigger / remote systems.
Having a good quality, responsive SLR is the first step in taking great weather photos, the next is having the tools that can take your camera to the next level.
Photographing storms is never a quick easy process, yet storms by their very nature require you to be a fast, accurate and confident photographer. You need your camera to be focused correctly, the exposure to be accurate, white balance acceptable or faithful and a steady hand or tripod to prevent motion blur/jitter. Only after all these factors are correct can you start taking photos and make adjustments to composition, and other elements.
Once you’ve mastered the basics, and learned how to use your lenses effectively, then you can add things to them such as circular polarizers to deepen the blues in the sky and make the clouds pop out.
You can also add graduated filters to help balance the bright clouds against the darker foreground. If you’re really brave, you can combine polarizers, neutral density grads and even coloured filters to make things pop or create hyper-realistic art.
I say art because the instant you push your photo beyond a faithful true to reality representation, it’s no longer realistic to what was there but a form of pseudo realism. Think about it like this, if I use a filter to make the sky pink and the pink sky somehow balances perfectly with a big white thunderstorm against a field full of yellow sunflowers, it’s acceptable as a cool photo, but it’s no longer realistic. I’ve tricked your eyes into believing something that’s probably impossible and further to that point, manipulated reality to create something that I feel looks better. The photo is partially representative of what was there since I did not remove elements but it’s not faithful to the reality of the moment since I added false colour to the sky.
So remember, tools like filters and grad to help you turn your photos into art, or make them more representative and faithful to what was there. It all depends how you use them.