The weather forecast changes every time I look at my phone app, but at the moment, rain and thunderstorms are predicted for the first two days of my Amelia Island photo workshop. I don't mind rain. In fact, I prefer cloudy skies over sunny ones and always hope for a bit of weather. But for these folks flying in from the north, I'm sure they are looking forward to some warm days and sunny skies.
Because of the forecast, I'm working on an alternate schedule for the week and revisiting sites that I believe we can most easily photograph in the rain. Not a fan of shooting in the rain? Most people aren't. But I've discovered that if you get out there and shoot when others don't, you get the shots that they don't. So here are a few tips for shooting in the rain:
- Keep your camera dry. There are many commercially available "raincoats" for cameras, but a plastic bag with a hole cut out for your lens will do just fine. A rubber band will keep it in place and a lens hood helps keep droplets off your lens. I also like to use a cheap shower cap (the kind you find in hotel rooms) to slip over my camera when moving about. You can also use an umbrella, though this can be awkward unless you have a friend to hold it. And never use an umbrella in a lightning storm!
- Seek out balconies, awnings and shelters to shoot from beneath. You can also shoot from your car. If the wind is blowing, position your car so the rain is blowing on the opposite side.
- See if you can backlight the rain. It shows up better that way. If it is coming down hard, you can shoot a slow exposure to accentuate the movement.
- Photograph the clouds and light, which can be dramatic on stormy days.
- Photograph reflections in puddles--especially if you are around streets and buildings. These can be especially dramatic at night with street lights.
- Photograph water droplets on plants or other surfaces with a macro lens.
- Create dramatic abstracts and moody shots by shooting through rain-soaked windows.
- Keep your eyes open for rainbows when the sun breaks through the clouds.
- And consider photographing lightning (from a safe place), which is most easily done with long exposures when the skies are dark.
- Take a walk in the woods. The trees will provide some shelter and the understory plants will often look especially lush when wet and in overcast light.
So, wish us luck this week as we get creative and tackle whatever Mother Nature sends our way.