Rain and photography can get along well, as long as our gear remains dry and safe. As of a couple of years ago, weatherproof cameras and lenses have become more and more accessible to the general public, although they are a bit pricey.
Therefore, not all photographers can invest in one of these new cameras. When it comes to rain, there are two types of photographers – the ones who hide their gear when they see a slight drizzle; and those who manage to take pictures without putting their gear at risk.
You can always use a fancy waterproof case, of course…but there are less elegant, yet functional solutions out there – like these plastic rain covers or the trusty umbrella.
The idea is to never let yourself become frustrated by a bit of water. That said, while these solutions work just fine for a light rain, you should consider more reliable solutions for heavy rain like the ones experienced in the world’s tropical regions.
Today we’re going to talk about some easy-to-perform projects that can keep your camera dry when the rain is falling – and help you never miss a beautiful moment because you were being cautious with your beloved gear.
1. Reflections In Puddles
Puddles by themselves aren't thrilling to photograph; the marvelous thing about them is the vast array of possibilities they offer for playing around with reflections.
After any rain, regardless of its intensity, there will be puddles everywhere for you to experiment with. This project isn't for the average lazy photographer who just wants to take pictures from eye level.
No, photographing reflections on puddles requires you to crouch on the ground and play with different compositions, frames, and points of view.
Capturing reflections on a puddle is just like seeing the world through an oddly shaped window; and for the trick to work out every time you need to be aware that ponds have their own identities.
If you focus only on the reflection, leaving the body of water behind, you'll end up with a flat photograph, as if you were shooting through a window.
The beautiful thing about puddles is that they are unpredictable; you never know exactly how things will work out, thanks to the juxtaposition of the regular scene and the inclusion of the reflecting puddle in the frame.
Also, you can play with the resulting reflections by rotating the image. You’ll get some pretty wicked results.
Photo by Tolga Kilinc on Unsplash
Some people find umbrellas to be cheesy and clichéd, but for many of us, they are still interesting – and why not say so? – attractive to photograph.
Think of crowds protected by their easy-to-carry protective domes of fabric, or a simple umbrella lying in the middle of a wet street or pub entrance.
Umbrellas possess something that makes them irresistible to capture, and you should give them a try. Also important for you to remember: umbrellas make a great companion for photographers wandering the streets since they offer a practical and massive, yet inconspicuous camera protection when used.
3. Through Glass
Photo by Pedro Gabriel Miziara on Unsplash
If the rain is extremely harsh, you can always cover yourself up inside a car, a bus or a cozy coffee shop to keep you toasty and your camera dry.
By photographing through a window, you'll get a different perspective of the outside, from glazed windows to tiny droplets running down the glass. Everything looks beautiful when shot through a window when it’s pouring outside.
If you want to reduce the window effect, place the front of the lens right on the window to reduce undesired glare, flare and light leaks in your images.
4. People Walking In The Rain
Photo by Dominik Schröder on Unsplash
Some photographers (like myself) love to include the human element in their photographs, and showing people walking in the rain is one of the best ways to achieve beautiful results.
People always wear an odd expression when they walk in the rain, and it’s worth capturing. Just keep in mind that the pictures shouldn't be embarrassing, but aesthetic.
This can be achieved by combining photographs taken from the inside of a building or a car, and also by going outside and taking pictures of people while all of you are getting soaked.
Always make sure to keep your camera safe and dry, of course.
5. Plants Adorned With Droplets
Photo by David von Diemar on Unsplash
Many photographers love botany and nature, and these always offer great opportunities to capture greenery with a twist.
After every rainfall, plants get beautifully glazed by tiny drops of water that can produce some pretty interesting effects.
Try using a macro lens to capture astonishing mages of those tiny drops of water and see the world from a whole new perspective.
Sources Of Inspiration
Many photographers have delighted themselves with rain, and perhaps the best examples for you to look at are Brassaï and Saul Leiter. These two had a thing for rain, and they captured the city from a unique perspective due to their bold approaches to cities and rain.
Light behaves quite gently on overcast and rainy days, giving natural light a soft appeal and softening the natural saturation of surrounding colors on the city.
During the day, after rain, there is always a unique light that deserves the attention and keen eye of a passionate photographer – so get out there! As long as you keep your camera dry and safely shooting while the rain is pouring down, you'll never regret it.
We give you our word on this. Please share your images with us at the Tank!
A gallon zip lock bag and a large plastic cup, when properly applied, make for great camera/lens protection in the rain. I’ve been using them successfully for years.