Shooting Through the Rain

soaked artichoke

The Northeast is soaking up a heavy helping of rainfall just as photographers are primed to get outside and capture the burgeoning spring flora greening up our landscape. While the wet weather can be a hindrance, it also provides new photographic opportunities. The overcast sky acts as a giant soft-box creating gorgeous even lighting and brilliant colors perfect for photographing fall foliage, or a budding spring forest.

While the rain tends to keep us cooped up indoors, sometimes it can have the opposite affect on a wildlife subject. I stumbled across this cow moose in the middle of the afternoon enjoying a nice sun shower and a bite to eat. With a little bit of preparation, I was able to capture the shot while keeping my gear dry. cow in the rainI usually use cheap plastic rain sleeves which easily cover up my 5D Mark iii, a 70-200mm f2.8 lens and hood. You can also spend a few extra bucks on a heavy-duty rainguard, but I like how the lighter plastic versions easily fit into my pocket on days when the rain is intermittent. When shooting in the rain, I try to pack light, and always leave any gear that isn’t weather sealed behind. I suggest sticking to one lens with internal zoom, and be sure to keep the hood on. You’ll want to save any lens changes for a dry environment, so a versatile lens like the Canon 70-200mm,  or something wider like a 24-105mm f4 are good choices.

A Silver Lining

Understandably, many people are not going to risk taking their valuable gear out on a rainy day. I’ve never come across a warranty that covers water damage, and insurance plans are often the same way. If you’re not up for the gamble, keep your gear safe indoors, but be ready for a break in the weather.  It’s also nice to get outside right after the rain lets up. The cloud cover is still offering great light, and the rain sleeve can come off giving you better access to the camera’s LCD display and custom functions. The dry sky allows for vertical camera angles giving you an ants-eye-view of your subject, literally dripping with added interest.

tulip in the rain


Sailor's Sky EgretSticking it out during inclement weather always seems to pay off for me in one way or another. If I haven’t taken a photo that peaked my interest, its a pretty good indication that my work isn’t done yet. I can’t tell you how many times I find the shot I’m after in the final moments of daylight, putting my camera’s ISO capabilities to the test as the sun has sunk out of sight. With a little bit of diligence you can get that silver lining shot, even on those rainy days.

7 responses

  1. Thanks for this post Chris. Yes, the soaking rains here in Vermont have indeed lushed thing up considerably! Time to get out and take some rising water shots!

    May 26, 2013 at 11:06 am

    • Thanks John! Maybe this week we’ll dry up a bit. :)

      June 3, 2013 at 8:55 am

  2. way to make some lemonade!!!

    May 27, 2013 at 9:21 pm

  3. Chris, that last photo …. I just want to say WOW!!!!! The poor wet moose … he looks like he just stepped out of the shower and I think he really enjoy the rain on his fur. The thistle shot is amazing too. But my votes goes to the last one … I love to take photos under and after rain, during rain it’s very tricky – it ends up on lens.

    May 28, 2013 at 4:59 am

    • Thanks Viveka…couldn’t agree to shoot when everything is glistening from a fresh rain! :)

      June 3, 2013 at 8:53 am

      • Can’t say I’m a fan of all rains, but if I’m dressed for it … bring it on. I love the smell of a forest after a rain.

        June 3, 2013 at 12:44 pm

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