Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Adding rain to capture moody photographs

While sitting around yesterday, looking out the sliding glass doors, watching the rainfall and wishing it would just go away, I realized two things: I’m a photographer and living here in the Pacific Northwest with it’s never ending rainfall, the bad weather, like it or not would give me a opportunity to go outside in our backyard garden and a chance make some good pictures. I thought of images that would evoke some type of mood and atmosphere, and would give me a chance to break away from that wishful “sunny-day” look and provided a few reasons to capture something different.

First, consider the possibilities that rain can add. We get plenty of those wet days here and it provides a silvery shimmer to city streets and foliage that can turn even a mundane scene into one of magic. The diffused light from an overcast sky mutes bright colors and emphasizes soft monochromes and enhances the subtle compositional effects.

One method I like using, is to use my 28-70mm f2.8 lens which has a minimum focusing distance is about 12 inches, while it’s not stellar for a macro, when I attached the Canon Extension Tube EF25 I was able to move in close to capture details and rich colors of the various plants, grasses and trees branches with water drops shinning like a jewels.

When shooting in the foul weather one thing you have to watch for is that water can damage your photographic equipment. When the weather turns while out photographing in bad weather, protect it under a raincoat or umbrella when not shooting. Make use of doorways, storefront arcades, overhangs, or awnings.

For prolonged exposure to the rain, weatherproof your camera with a gallon plastic zip lock bag that is flexible enough to operate the shutter release. Cut a hole for the lens and then seal the lens shade to the bag with the use duct tape or a strong rubber band. To protect the lens, use a lens shade and skylight filer and wipe off moisture that collect on your camera with a dry, clean cloth. My all time favorite is using one of those chamois car wipes you can purchase at any auto parts store.

Be alert to such stormy scenes as you photograph, if not, you’ll never know what visual opportunities photographing in bad weather might bring.