Yikes! It’s Raining…

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Heavy rain is a great time to get out and shoot. Have confidence that you can do it without ruining your gear by following a few guidelines.

Before the rainy season starts in your city, you should already be scouting potential rainy day spots.

  • Think about where people are still going to be walking even on a wet day. What are some “destinations” people are still going to want to visit despite the weather?
  • Look for natural “people funnels” – areas where the path people will take is predictable due to obstacles, cover, corridors etc.
  • A tight spot with cover is best. A shallow doorway is perfect. Just big enough for one – you don’t want anyone joining you for respite from the rain! There should be no other cover nearby, a spot where people are using umbrellas or trying to escape the rain.

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In the photo above, you can see the edge of the doorway that I was standing in on the right of frame. It was a shallow doorway in a spot without any other cover. The subject is exposed completely to the rain.

Try for a small spot that only fits one person comfortably. If you are by yourself and not likely to be interrupted, you can camp out for much longer than usual. People will keep rushing by and even if your camera registers in their field of vision they are not going to stop in the rain…

The composition is not great – the pedestrian pole thing and the doorway edge make sure of that. But the “camping” spot is perfect. It is at the Flinders St end of Degraves St – a spot that no matter what the weather has traffic.

The lane naturally funnels people towards the doorway.

Wet weather offers great opportunities. People tend to be rushing from one bit of cover to another. If you can sit yourself somewhere where people are rushing through the rain, plenty of interesting opportunities should present.

Some tips around gear :

1. Buy a decent bag.

Most bags are somewhat showerproof. Just check the specs. So long as you are only sporadically exposing yourself to rain – the CBD of most cities usually provides a fair bit of cover – the bag should be fine. The best bags will often have a “pull out” shower cover which is 100% waterproof. The Lowepro Stealth Reporter has one :

The rain covers are usually your best bet to keep your gear dry – but once they are out, it is very difficult to put them back in their storage pocket without everything getting wet. So only bring it out when you are done shooting for the day and need the extra confidence for the journey home.

If you are on a budget, then look on Ebay or Gumtre. Second hand bags have very little value.

2. Keep a few plastic shopping bags in your bag.

To get to your location, just put your camera bag in a plastic shopping bag as best you can, tie it up, poking holes where necessary to allow for straps etc.

Once you get to where you want to shoot, just tear it open and chuck it in the nearest bin. The water goes with the bag into the bin. Yah, of course, only ever use biodegradable bags…

If you need to move to another location, grab another dry shopping bag out of your kit and away you go. This is so much easier than drying off the showerproof cover at each location, and being careful about not letting the collected water get on your gear.

3. Less is more.

I suppose you can take an umbrella, and wear a big, waterproof jacket. I don’t. Wearing a regular non-waterproof jacket helps keep me mindful of keeping out of the rain. Keep looking for cover – if you are fully in the rain for an extended period of time, it doesn’t matter how good your bag is – gear is going to get wet.

An umbrella is a great help for getting to places, but becomes a bit of a hassle once you stop.

Don’t worry too much about fancy wet weather gear – the only time you should need expensive covers is if you are not undercover. Nature and landscape photography springs to mind, as does sports photography. Street photography locations should always offer some kind of cover if you look carefully enough.

 

So, grab some plastic shopping bags and get out there next time it starts raining!

5 Responses to “Yikes! It’s Raining…”

  1. good advice. when I had my Nikon d300s it was totally waterproof, now my sony nex 7 is totally NOT waterproof. But yes the rain can be good: puddles, people running with umbrellas, reflections. and more. By the way, have you heard of the Sue Ford exhibit at the Ian Potter centre in Fed Square? Looks great. Not a street photographer, but terrific pictures anyway. I’m going tomorrow…google her..fascinating story too

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Will do. Have made a commitment to look at more people’s work.

    Like

  3. helenbriggsphotography Reply June 14, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    Fantastic read – it’s always raining here in Yorkshire 🙂

    Like

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  1. Seven Thoughts on Seven Images – Part Three | Inconspicuosity - June 13, 2017

    […] You can read a bit more in depth on wet weather techniques here.  […]

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