By Vanessa Mallory Kotz
As spring finally starts to show its lovely face here in the Mid-Atlantic, people are coming out of their apartments and houses with joyful expressions and lighter outerwear. Dog walkers have an extra pep in their step. Children tiptoe through the tulips and their parents take dozens of photos of the cherry blossoms right as they are about to fade. The last few days, however, it has rained. A lot. Staring out the window at the overcast skies and thinking of all those tourists at the Tidal Basin makes me wonder—what is the best way to take photos in the rain? I scoured the Internet for tips from the pros. Here are five of the best.
1. Protect your gear
Look for shelter (a store awning, parking garage or porch. Also, carry an umbrella and a raincoat. “Not necessarily for yourself — nobody cares if the photographer gets wet. I mean a raincoat made specifically for cameras. These are available from a number of manufacturers in a variety of shapes and sizes, capable of covering not just the lens and camera but an attached flash as well. You can find a decent one for not a lot of money. If you’re more of the DIY type, you can use a plastic bag — preferably a clear one.” –Jason D. Little for Light Stalking
2. Pay attention to reflections
“One of the great things about reflections is that they tend to help lighten up an image –especially if it’s night, and you have a light source, such as streetlamps, that are reflecting off of the water. While most people think of crystal-clear water when reflections come to mind, ripples at the surface can add some unique texture to your composition, and the result will be more abstract than a mirrored image.” –Christina Harman for Loaded Landscapes
3. Be patient
“As many landscape photographers will testify, a great time to shoot is immediately after the rain stops. Rain enhances colors, and as the sun emerges you’ll see some great opportunities, possibly even a rainbow.” –Staff Writer for Amateur Photographer
4. How to shoot from your car
It you are trying to get a picture during a downpour, trust nature photographer Art Wolfe. Park at an angle that will keep the weather out of your open window. It also helps to know the behaviors of your subjects, which for one shot were a herd of Impalas in Kenya. ‘“The rain was so heavy,” he says, “that the animals stopped and stood facing away from it. The impala just stopped moving, because, in that type of rain, they assume that the rainstorm will be over in 20 minutes. It’s not worth moving during that time into uncertain territory when they have marginal visibility. There could be lions waiting for them. They just waited out the rain, and I was able to position myself and get that shot.”’ –Jack Crager for Popular Photography
5. Be on the lookout for joy or misery
“Rain transforms people. We react to rain with a gamut of emotions, from the sullen dread of rain-drenched commuters to the wondrous joy of children. Capture those emotions and you’ll have a great rain picture.” –Jim Richardson for National Geographic
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