I love this column – totally my kinda thing. And this issue is solely dedicated to my favorite genre of photography. I love shooting in the rain – the beauty of the nature can’t be captured in any other form, I believe. Though there are people who I know hate to take their cameras out during the monsoon for obvious reasons.Don’t know whether to like or hate it – but something that happened in the recent past that actually taught me many a things about photographic tactics. It rained all week…well, not quite all week, but enough that it got to be a running joke! And guess what,it actually taught me how to shoot the perfect photos in rain, many a times totally disrupting it!It was actually an opportunity to learn. I realised it only after the sun came out and I knew it was better in the rain. And hence, once again I waited till it rained and made every clicks of mine divine and magical! The rain had transformed numbingly familiar scenes into something fresh and ripe for discovery. It may be a truism but it’s still worth trumpeting—when it starts to rain, good photographers head out to make pictures. True that!!There are, of course, problems involved, and these break down into two categories. One, how to keep your camera dry (nobody cares whether the photographer gets wet), and two, how to show rain in the pictures. This second item seems paradoxical. How can you not show rain in the pictures? Amazingly, the rain often look dull, gray, and on the edge of being invisible.
Here we go ahead with the tips first:
1. Carry a raincoat for your camera: There are about a million rain covers for camera gear on the market. The real problem is having it with you when it starts to rain. Anything that will protect your camera completely against every storm, up to and including a hurricane, may well be too bulky to carry every day. My advice: Carry camera rain gear in your bag that won’t take up too much space and will get you by in a pinch. There are rain gears with adjustable elastic bands up front to cinch around the front of the lens and another at the back to give your hand room to reach inside to run the camera. Simple but effective in many wet situations – go and find one fast.
2. Carry a gallon-size plastic bag: In a pinch, it will do a passable job of keeping a camera dry. Punch a hole in one end to poke the lens through and stick your hand in the other end.
3. Look for porches and awnings: Park under a dry spot and wait for the pictures to come to you. Have a glass of wine, read a book, discuss Proust ad infinitum. Just be patient.
4. Shoot from inside a car: This is often the best course of action, and sometimes it’s the only practical answer. You can often roll down the window and stay pretty dry, especially if the wind is at your back (coming from the other side of the car). You can outrace the storm to a great vantage point by turning the car sideways so you could look down a winding pasture road. Let the rain beat mercilessly behind you as the funnel clouds dip and soar, but you are assured tobe dry and keep shooting. Don’t try this at home, however!
5. Buy an umbrella: It is always advisable to carry a small folding umbrella in camera bag. Say, a five inches long (13 centimeters) folded—just big enough to keep your camera out of the worst wetness. If you are in a city when it starts to rain, look around for an umbrella vendor. It would be nice if you had a trusty assistant (or patient spouse) to carry the umbrella, but I find I can do a lot of work just holding the shaft of the umbrella in my left hand, which also grips the camera. A little awkward, yes, but it has the advantage of keeping the umbrella right over the camera. Do I need to add here that this advice does not apply in thunderstorms? Umbrellas are remarkably akin to lightning rods in physical construction and work pretty much the same. Remember: If you can hear thunder you are within striking distance of lightning.
8. Include the umbrella in your picture: Actually, your own umbrella can be a very nice compositional framing device. Bring it down into the top of the picture when you are shooting with a wide angle and it nicely fills the upper part of the frame, providing a nice visual cue that it is, in fact, raining. If the streets are full of people under umbrellas, yours fits in with the crowd. But it can do one more important thing. While we think of rain clouds being dark and foreboding, they are, in fact, often the light source for a rainy scene. Hence, the clouds are bright and the scene below is dark. Use the umbrella to cover up the too-bright clouds and your scene can suddenly look much better exposed.