Do you get out in the rain and photograph your neighborhood, your family, your pet? There’s nothing cuter than capturing a photo of your little one with rainboots on, splashing around in the puddles or the simple beauty of capturing a raindrop on a leaf. Let me share a few tips on how to use your camera outdoors when the weather is wet.
Living on the west coast as I do, I am accustomed to rainy weather; some days it seems like it will never stop. I don’t let the rain stop me from taking outdoor photos but it does require me to be a bit creative on how I can keep my camera dry. Many cameras are (somewhat) waterproof these days but I am a stickler for safety and don’t take any changes with my equipment. I prefer to keep them out of the rain (except for my camera phone which I know will be ok).
One of my favorite times to get outdoors to photograph my neighborhood is when there is a soft misty rain or light drizzle. What that kind of weather will ensure is that there will be soft diffused lighting. I may have to crank my iso up a bit to ensure proper exposure but there is enough light that it isn’t a problem to photograph in. What I love about rainy days is how all the colors deepen, water sparkles on a leaf, sometimes you get a hazy fog that can really add interest to a photo, like this pumpkin patch I came across on my way out to the bird sanctuary last fall. It was softly raining and you could see a soft hazy fog off in the distance. When I parked and got out of the car, I pulled a big hood up over my head which also helped to keep some moisture off my camera. I held my arm over the camera to shield it as much as I could and then I squatted down but tilted the lens downwards a bit so that the rain didn’t directly hit the lens which would distort the photo. I wouldn’t have done this had it been a heavy downpour but it wasn’t so this worked for the minute or two I was outdoors with my camera. Also, if using a lens that has a hood, this will offer some protection from the rain getting onto the lens as long as you remember not to tilt it towards the rain.
When it rains, you want to look for some shelter, something overhead to protect your camera. Ducking under a tree can often provide enough protection. If I’m out on a photo walk in the rain I usually use a zoom lens, knowing that I might want to be further away from whatever I want to photograph than I would prefer, but the distance might be necessary as I try to find shelter. If in an urban setting, I might step into an alcove that provides a bit of protection. I have a large umbrella with a big hooked handle that I open and then tuck the handle up under my armpit to stabilize it, holding my arm tight against my body. This is awkward if there is a strong wind but otherwise it works well to provide the needed protection from the rain.
I love to capture a shot just as the rain is letting up, everything is still wet and colors are still deepened from the rain saturation, with some awesome cloud formation, as the sky starts to lighten, as in this shot of Taz I took on a path at Pitt Lake.
For this shot, I stood under my elm tree and snapped a few pics of my tulips which just bloomed this week. I put the camera inside my jacket as I ran from the house to the garden in our backyard and crouched under the elm tree to take this shot of the rain drops on the tulips the day before they bloomed.
To capture some of the early spring beauty in my neighborhood, I went out just before dusk, in the rain, and drove around some of our residential side streets, pulling over to the curbside to snap a photo with a zoom lens, through the window of my car. Here’s one of the photos I took, focusing on a bloom in the middle of the bush, that was protected from the rain and wind.
So, as you can see, with a little creativity, you can get outdoors and take some photos. One last tip I can offer, that I don’t do often, preferring to use some overhead cover or umbrella, is to protect your camera with a plastic sleeve. You can purchase plastic covers that will slip over your camera and arm but I find these awkward to use and prefer the other methods I mentioned. But I have to say, I used one when I was on my Alaska trip a few years ago and I was thankful to have it because the wind was strong, the rain was heavy and there wasn’t anywhere to get cover, so this was the only solution I could think of that would enable me to get outdoors and safely take photos. Here’s one of the photos I took off the ship, standing in the rain, looking out at the icebergs (with a plastic sleeve over my camera and arm). I haven’t tried it but you might have success with a DIY cover, using a large baggie, slipped over your camera and arm, with a hole cut out of the other end.
So, whatever you are interested in photographing, don’t let a little rain stop you. Get creative, provide some cover for yourself and your camera, and get out there in the rain and have fun!