April showers bring May flowers. So why not go out and photograph them? The April showers, that is.
Your first thought may be that a rainy day puts a damper on your photography plans. The fact is that rain creates wonderful photographic opportunities – shimmering surfaces, intriguing reflections, dramatic skies, romantic vistas and melancholy moods.
From forests to city streets, a rainy day creates fascinating visual transformations.
Protecting your camera on a rainy day
When venturing out on a rainy day, plan for the protection of your camera. Keep your camera covered. Although you can buy protective covers, a large plastic bag with a hole cut for the lens to peek through will suffice.
Seal the bag around the lens opening with a rubber band. Make sure you have enough room to maneuver inside the bag to be able to reach all your necessary control buttons. This will help ensure that water doesn’t seep inside the camera via the lens mount ring or the spaces around buttons and knobs.
Carry an umbrella. On a still day, it’s possible to hold it under one arm while shooting. Or you can have an assistant hold it for you.
Carry a lint-free towel. You’ll need it to wipe raindrops from the protective filter on the front of your lens (you DO have a protective filter on the front of your lens, right?).
Experiment with different angles and settings
The rest is up to you and what mood you wish to create with your pictures. Go wide to get the big picture. Go macro to catch details. Experiment with different exposure compensation settings. Underexpose for dark, moody, melancholy pictures. Overexpose slightly to create dreamy vistas.
If you’re really feeling adventurous, play with your camera’s white balance settings. Try Incandescent to get a cold, twilight feel. Play with your various fluorescent settings to add some “yellow after the rain” panache. If you’re late in the day, and if your camera has a setting for Mercury Vapor Lights, give it a few shots. The effect is something akin to sunset afterglow on steroids.
Take safety measures
A word about personal safety – if you’re going to go out to photograph inclement weather, know what you’re getting into. Check the weather reports and know what’s coming. Take measures to ensure your safety in the event of lightning. Be sure your footwear will provide secure footing on wet surfaces.
Man jumping in the rain photo by Tony. Other photos by James Jordan.