Photography in the rain…..?

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Today’s blog entry is dedicated to a good friend of mine Liz Ellis. Liz is a survivor of cancer after battling with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2011. She is a great craft artist/photographer and has recently upgraded to a DSLR. If you get a chance take a look at some of her images on Flickr or have a read of her fight with cancer in her blog “Hope Floats“.

Its been a miserable Spring hasn’t it? With only a few weeks left until the official start of the “Great British Summer” things are not looking good really I don’t want to sound like a doom-monger…. but come on… if the last few years have anything to go by then the track record for the “GBS” isn’t too good with very few prospects of changing. Just for clarification the above image of the aircraft landing at London Heathrow was taking in August 2010…..case closed. Or not?

As photographers the weather is our friend. A cloudy but bright day is good, a day with scattered clouds and intermittent sunshine is better and a sunny day is just perfect. I was chatting to a friend just now who is shooting a wedding today and obviously his concern is the weather and how to get the shots that will justify him completing his contract with the bride and groom. This is a difficult one isn’t it and a potential problem that is totally out of your hands. Everyone dreams of waking up to a blue skies on their big day, opening up the door for an awesome wedding with some superbly lit images for the final album. In the event of bad weather, making use of the things that are a certainty is probably the only option. Use coloured umbrellas for the bride and groom, I know colour popping is a little clichéd these days but one sure fire way to rescue colour on a dull and wet day is to convert to monochrome and let specific colours show through. So let the rain be your friend; use the rain as one of the images elements. Afterall, against the happy couples wishes the rain has now invited itself to the wedding…how rude! But as an uninvited guest it must be made to work…

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Most of us head indoors when it rains, others seek shelter or use an umbrella. Then there is the occasional lunatic that believes he’s an amphibian and is totally oblivious to water, walking along wet streets in a deluge wearing nothing but shorts, t-shirt and a pair of gym pumps. There is always one. It is instances like this that present opportunities for a photographer, once in a lifetime chances that shouldn’t be missed. If you are watching it happening then its too late..whne you envisage events like this unfolding the trick is to watch, previsualise and then do the rest through your viewfinder. Before you know it you have over one hundred images on the card. The more you shoot the more chance you have of capturing that special moment… that jump over the puddle with the water drops flying… that knowing look of a person in the crowd ( This one is not in the rain but take a look at the image below taken at a race in Leeds City Centre) or that chance opportunity of spontaneous incident.

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Shooting in the rain adds a whole new dimension to photography; it gives the subject an added pzaz and that extra interest. Unfortunately with the adverse weather comes a lack of light, in turn impacting on the quality of the images. Not a big problem but something to consider all the same. Pushing up the ISO will give your more scope to play with. Failing that why not try some slow shutter speed action shots…kids playing and splashing in puddles are a great subject matter, but remember to ask permission first. Last thing you need is a confrontation with an angry parent, especially when its raining.

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If you don’t like the idea of getting wet and an umbrella doesn’t quite fit your ideals as the height of fashion accessories then why not head back indoors. Shooting images whilst sat in a cafe or restaurant is great. There’s nothing I like better than going to sit in a coffee-house with a camera. If you sit near the window then images of passers-by and people chatting in the street are a real challenge. Every now and then you will get noticed and a response will present itself for a photo. Some will shy away, some will pull a face whilst others will just carry on with their business. Which ever way the opportunity appears, its yours for the taking.

Looking for reflections is another subject matter in the rain. Distorted reflections of people walking, buildings in the pavement and even faces if you look closely. All these are possibilities and opportunities. The world is your oyster so why not open it. Since the advent of digital photography along with mobile phones nearly all of us have access to a camera whilst going about daily routines. Many of us just don’t use them for what they are good at. Most are capable of at least six mega pixels which gives excellent picture quality. So go on, get out there and try some images in wet weather, you wont regret it.

Finally, the lazy option…stay at home and gaze out of the window. Be it rain dripping from the leaky gutter, water drops battering the window pane or water dripping from leaves. All these can be done from the dry, comfort and warmth of your home without stepping one foot outdoors. Often a look out of the bedroom window can lend a whole new perspective on a scene. Approaching weather fronts can make the surrounding scenery look totally different. Try it! The next time you are stuck indoors with nothing to photograph, head upstairs and look at the opportunities from the upper floor. Things look different from an aerial perspective don’t they?

I am going to close this small “weather” related piece by showing you an image of a weather front from my upper floor. The image shows a rain storm heading south-east from the Pennines across the Yorkshire city of Bradford.  Far from a summer shot but it illustrates that photography is possible in the rain. Thanks for reading. As always, comments positive or negative are welcome. Thank you.

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About Mark Winterbourne

A little about me … well, what can I say. I started photography back in 1979 when I was just 11 years old. I was given a 35mm SLR Camera by my late Grandfather as a birthday present. The camera was a Russian built Zenit EM and built like a house brick. Many of my slides on here are taken with the very same camera. My passion stemmed from my Grandfathers love of photography and in particular his fondness of the English Lake District. I will showcase his work on here in the coming months, but there are over 10,000 slides and I have quite a task ahead of me scanning them in. In the late eighties and early nineties I moved on to autofocus SLR’s and began to accumulate quite a stash of equipment. In between my full time employment and sleeping I started doing small photographic assignments for freinds, family and small businesses. In the early 2000′s I started using a digital camera and traed all my traditional film cameras in for more equipment. My Camera Equipment Canon EOS 20D Body BGE2N Battery Grip Canon EOS 50D Body BGE2N Battery Grip Canon 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 EF-S Lens Canon EF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 III Lens Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM Sigma 28-105 F2.8-4 DG Lens Sigma 50-500mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Canon 580EX Speedlite Flashgun Canon CP-E4 Compact Battery Pack for 580EX I took an avid interest in aviation photography at the start of the 2000′s when digital cameras became more accessible. My enjoyment was taken up a level when I discovered I could mix my love of light & colour with aviation photography by taking photographs. In 1983 I suffered a head injury which was diagnosed as a brain tumour. LIfe soon returned to normal in 1984 but in the early part of 2002 things turned nasty and headaches and sickness returned. To date I dont have a surgeon willing to operate on me and struggle by day to day. You will find more about this in my blogs……. Nothing will stop my photography, not even this head injury….this blog reflects my day to day life as a person with an interest in photography….with a headache to match Hope you enjoy….please feel free to contact me, anytime

Posted on May 15, 2013, in Blogging & Wordpress, Flickr, Inspiration, Photography (General) and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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