Let the Rain Help Your Photography

After months of monsoon rains in Asia, we have grown tired of the water.

But there’s always a positive side to everything, and rain has a positive effect on photography.

In Penang for a break from the stress of flooding in Thailand, I was in the Ko Si Lak temple when it started to pour. You could see the rain in sheets from the high vantage point, drenching Georgetown below the hill.

Later near Tanjung Bunga, storm clouds threatened ominously in the horizon while I watched a couple of fishermen replace a defective rotorblade on their boat.

Stormy weather can help add drama to photographs.

Rain clouds over Georgetown, Penang. Copyright Aloha Lavina.The itinerant photographer can use the signs of an impending storm to capture this drama in their photography.Storm approaches near Tanung Bunga, Penang. Copyright Aloha Lavina.

Here are some things I’ve learned about shooting in the rain:

1.  Protect the camera and lens the affordable way.
While cameras and lenses are supposed to be weather proof to some extent, it’s best not to risk destroying them in your quest for great rainy day shots. Protecting your camera and lens using a plastic bag, tied at the opening with a rubber band, is a simple way of waterproofing your gear.

2. Get a waterproof bag for the rest of your stuff.
Kata and Lowepro which I have used, have these nifty raincovers that fold out over the bag. I pull them over the bag at the first sign of a drizzle, to protect the lenses and other equipment in the bag.

3. Watch out for lightning.
Great shots are good to go after, but not if you put yourself in danger. If you’re photographing in open space, say a field with little shelter, you might want to leave that place at the first sign of lightning.

4. Wipe down your gear as soon as you get back to your home or hotel.
To avoid getting moisture in your equipment, wipe down your camera and lenses with a cloth as soon as you reach the hotel or your home.

5. Keep a rain parka, or a large trash bag in your camera bag.
A rain parka is not expensive and can be tucked away in your camera bag. Similarly, if you’re winging it in a foreign country where it rains a lot, you can get large garbage bags and tuck a couple into your camera bag. If you desperately need to keep dry, you can cut a hole in the sealed end for your head, a couple holes for your arms, and you’ve got a ready rain poncho.

Floating mosque, Penang. Copyright Aloha Lavina.

Floating mosque, Penang. Copyright Aloha Lavina.

If you stick around while it’s raining and wait it out, you will enjoy an aftereffect of rain on the place where you are taking pictures. Water over a surface actually increases the saturation of its colors. This is beautiful to behold and even more beautiful to capture.

So don’t leave at the first sign of rain. If you hang around, you’ll have plenty more shots to make.

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About Aloha

I am a photographer and writer currently based in Bangkok, Thailand. My work has appeared in CNNGo, Canon's PhotoYou magazine, Seventeen magazine, The Korea Times, Thailand Tatler, and a few photography books including recently Blogging for Creatives, a book published in the UK. I believe there is nothing you cannot imagine that you cannot do.

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