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Taking good photos in bad weather

Posted by Eric Bauer, Boston.com Staff  July 31, 2008 12:21 PM

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Shanghai residents go about their business despite a light rain in this 2006 photo by Essdras Suarez.

By Essdras Suarez
Globe Staff photographer

If your camera is not water resistant then by all means don't take it out in the pouring rain. But if you must, here are some tips for shooting in bad weather.

  • Carry only one camera with you and keep it under your coat. Bring it out briefly when needed. Modern cameras are surprisingly water resilient.
  • Try not to use a strobes since the light coming from it will hit the droplets and whatever mood you were trying to record will be automatically obliterated by hot spots all over your image.
  • Don't fight the urge to stay in your car while waiting for the rain to stop. Instead use your rain-covered window or windshield as another element in your composition. By this I mean focus on the raindrops and let the background fall out of focus. Use the shapes beyond your focus as part of your overall composition.
  • Never, ever change cards or film in the rain. It will only bring you headaches.
  • Don't treat puddles as a nuisance. Make them another fun tool in your photo-composition arsenal. Bring your camera low to the ground or as close as you can to the puddle and take advantage of the reflection. Or, watch puddles by roadways and anticipate the logical outcome of a car + a puddle + a pedestrian.
  • Carry an old-rag or small towel with you in your camera bag to wipe off excess water on your camera's surface. A chamois works really good on a wet lens.
  • Keep an eye on water filtering through the lens mount if you are using an interchangeable lens camera, i.e. a DSLR.

More Essdras Suarez photos

Want to keep improving, or have some tips to share? Check out all of our tipsheets or submit your own.

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