Wet streets add reflections and darker tones
Flatter light brought on by overcast skies creates richer color
Shooting during or just after a rainstorm can result in some dynamic photographs. When it is raining the light is usually very flat and surfaces (like streets) are very shiny and reflective. These dynamics make for great photography. Remember, if your hear thunder, get under cover. Be very afraid of lightning! Check the weather before you go out. Here are some things to consider:
For you, get an inexpensive rain suit. They are less than $10.00 at most department stores like Target or Wal-Mart. If you want to spend a little bit more money, you can get a suit that is thicker and can also act as a windbreaker. The key to your rain gear is that it should be very compact. I have one in the trunk of my car rolled up in the thrift store shave kit bag that I demonstrated in the “Tripod Alternative” blog. It doesn't take up much room and it’s always there.
As far as your camera is concerned you must keep it dry. Some cameras like the new Olympus E-5 claim to be weather proof in their ads, but the website specifications only call it splash proof. Many pro-sumer and professional cameras and lenses are sealed. This means that there are o rings on the lenses, and the bodies are somewhat watertight. With these types of cameras you can shoot in mist and very light rain. However, it is not recommend that you walk out in to a pouring rain storm-even if your camera is sealed-and shoot. Add lots of water to most cameras and you have a cocktail for disaster. Here are some alternatives:
OP/TECH USA makes an inexpensive rain sleeve that will fit over a lens up to 200 mm and will also accommodate a hot shoe flash. It is relatively simple to use. Simply slide the sleeve over your camera and tie it all off around your lens hood. You can use this product with out a lens hood but it's not a great idea. Water might still get in your lens.There is a hole in the back for you to see your viewfinder through. Start by removing the rubber eye cup, slide the frame of the viewfinder through the hole, and then replace your eye cup.
For $5.00 for $6.00, you’re now water resistant and can shoot in relatively heavy rain. Here’s a link http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/583456-REG/OP_TECH_USA_9001142_RAINSLEEVE_FLASH_Pack_of.html
There are more expensive options as well. Kata also makes rain gear for your rig. Their products are beefier and will last longer. They work the same way as the rain sleeve above. Here’s a link: http://www.adorama.com/KAE690.html
The most expensive way to go is with a watertight case. These are primarily made for shooting underwater. While they make your camera pretty much completely waterproof, they can be very expensive. There are bag types like this ($319.00 at B&H):
And solid housings like this used more for under water photography. (Very expensive. This one is $1900.00).
If you are in a pinch and still want to try to shoot in the rain, here is the cheapest alternative of all. Find a white garbage bag and a rubber band. The reason to choose white is that you can still fire your flash and the bag will act as a diffuser. If you can find a large clear bag it's even better. Put your camera in the bag, tear a small hole in it (just large enough to squeeze your lens hood through, and then tie it off with a rubber band.
It' not pretty, but it will do in a pinch!
Next, poke a small hole through the back of the bag and attach it as described above around your viewfinder.
You are ready to fire! There are a few challenges to this technique. If you don't know where the buttons are on your camera without looking, it's going to be a frustrating shoot. I encourage everyone to get used to looking through the viewfinder and adjust their camera without looking! Memorize your button locations! It will help you in this situation or those times when you miss an action shot because you needed to drop the camera from your eye "for just a second" to make an adjustment.
The other challege in using a garbage bag is not being able to see the LCD on the back of your camera. If you are careful you can lift the bag to see what you shot (chimping).
As a side note, I always try to have a garbage bag with my gear. I can roll it up very small or use it as a cushion in my camera bag. In case of rain I have instant protection (even if it is just to protect my stuff until I can find cover).
The fact that it is raining is no excuse not to shoot. Try it! Cityscapes, traffic, and even landscapes really pop when it’s raining. Kids playing in the rain are awesome to photograph!
Shooting at night during or after a rain reveals dramatic reflections
Keep Hitting That Shutter Button!
For information on other Tampa photography classes, digital photography classes, and Tampa photography workshops feel free to call me or look under the Tampa Photography Classes section. I also give private individual lessons on camera operation and making better photographs and would love to work with you one on one to make you a better photographer. Photography instruction gift certificates are also available. They make great gifts for the photo enthusiast in your life. Let's talk about what you need! 813-786-7780. See you in class!
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