Everybody knows that the weather follows its own rules. When it begins raining just as you start shooting, it’s important to know how to protect your equipment and keep it operational. And don’t forget, when you learn how to live with it, rainy weather can give you great shots.
How to protect your gear
The first thing to do when it starts raining is protect your camera body and its precious lenses, which are particularly susceptible to rain. Certain professional cameras designed for extreme weather can handle a downpour for a few minutes, but no traditional camera is perfectly waterproof for longer periods of time. Unless you opt for a camera that’s 100% waterproof, you’ll need to keep some other solutions in mind.
There are a few brands out there that offer customized waterproof cases and covers that protect the lens and body. They come with a transparent window so you can see your viewfinder, screen and control buttons. It’s an effective alternative but if it’s out of your price range, you should consider a few do-it-yourself options.
Transparent garbage and freezer bags are the most budget-friendly way to protect your camera. Just cut a hole through the bag, fit it around your lens and secure it with an elastic band. Attach a UV filter to your lens. In addition to keeping the drops away, it’ll help prevent blurring caused by raindrops. A lens hood will also help prevent raindrops from falling on the lens. Have a towel on-hand to wipe down the bag and hood regularly. If the rain’s not that bad, an umbrella will probably do the trick.
Rain can be your ally
Many photographers love to take pictures in the rain. It may sound surprising but in fact, rainy and cloudy weather offer unique opportunities to get spectacular shots.
With rain comes dark, majestic clouds that add intensity to any shot. Play up their textures and shapes or highlight the contrast between dark and light areas.
Whether on flowers, leaves, car hoods or windowpanes, raindrops add substance to your compositions. To capture them in all their beauty, use a macro lens that will help you focus properly on extremely close objects.
Another fun idea is to freeze a drop in movement. The key to success is, of course, your shutter speed. To capture a sharp, precision shot, make sure your speed is set to the highest setting possible. If it’s not, your shot will be blurry.
Puddles of water create reflections that lend themselves to more artistic photos. Their mirror-like surfaces, perfect for creating symmetry, are great for shooting landscapes. They also offer unique angles for shooting faces or silhouettes. For best results, use manual focussing; puddle surfaces are highly reflective and move a lot, making autofocus difficult.