Sunday, September 27, 2009

Rain Pros and Cons

Canon EOS 50D /17-40 USM L / 100 ASA / F18 - 1.3 Seconds

Wenderina will tell you I don't like to be out in the rain. It's true. I scrunch up my face and run as fast as I can to get out of the rain. I don't like being damp and cold and my glasses get all foggy. It makes me unhappy.... So why shoot in the rain? The results. You can get more saturated, rich colors. The rocks get darker where normally they might glow and the highlight contrast gets knocked down. In short it makes for a much more interesting photo. You can also find pockets of fog and mist that make for really great results. The hard part is keeping your lens dry and to keep it from fogging up. I captured these wonderful images... but perhaps the shot of the day got away from me because I could not keep the camera and lens dry when I found a stand of white birches with autumn colors behind them. I'll go back tomorrow morning before work. If I wait too long the rich color behind the trees will fade and the shot will be blah.

Today's images are from an early morning hike I took (in a very light rain) along Pine Meadow Brook in Harriman State Park. It started raining lightly last night and still has not stopped. This really decided today's location for me. I had hoped the rain would stop early and I would drive the two hours to a couple of waterfalls I have not seen before in the Shawangunk Mountains. I did not not want four hours of driving and nothing to show for it. So I opted for a local spot I know well and could predict the brook would be active with the rain from overnight and the fall colors would look even better so long as it was not raining too hard.

I noticed today as I was uploading my images that this trip marks the 25th time I have photographed in Harriman State Park in the last few years. It has so much to offer the hiker and photographer. I could spend a lifetime photographing this park and never discover all of her secrets.

I got home cold and wet, but very happy. I had found some beautiful images in an area I knew would be just right and the 15 minute wet ride home was much better than two hours cold and wet and miserable had I gone to the Shawangunks. It is still early in the fall... maybe next week. Maybe I can drag my brother in law Robbie (a fine photographer in his own right) out with me for a few hours.

There are a couple of important lessons I have learned as a landscape photographer you can glean from today. These are more important than type of equipment or any technical advice.

  1. Know you subject. Find a favorite spot and visit it often. Be able to just 'know' when it will be a good time to shoot. I spent a long time trying to force nature to be ready for me to photograph on my schedule. Such hubris does not work for a nature photographer.
  2. Be flexible. If your first location does not work out have a back up plan. Even if a trip does not work out as planned you will have added to your mental database of locations/times/conditions to shoot.
  3. Do your research... get a trail map. These help me a great deal with no locations to help me decide if early in the day or later in the day will be optimal. Know what time sunrise and sunset are... Is there a chance of fog... I love shooting in the fog.
  4. Be prepared. Keep your battery charged and extra memory cards with you. The best shot of the season may present it self to you while you are driving to work or the grocery store... If you don't have your camera with you then you are out of luck.

What tricks do you have to keep you prepared?

Keep Makin' Art



Dave King said...

The results speak for themselves. To my mind your first and last points are the critical ones. The one I would add is know your equipment, what it can do and how.

Carl said...

Thanks Dave - You are right knowing your equipment is a biggie and I just sort of asumed it.


JeannetteLS said...

me, I'm in it for the pictures... I just love to look at your work, but I don't have a camera. I live vicariously, through YOUR eye. I've been ill and trying to work on Stanford stuff... not the forum to tell you more, but thanks for your post. Have missed visiting the blogs I enjoy so much.

Janice Thomson said...

I never tire of your water photos Carl - your skill and processing are superb.
You give out valuable points especially for a new photographer like myself.

Carl said...

Jeanette - I sure hope you are getting better. I enjoy your writing as much as you like my photos!

Hi Janice - I am glad you like them so much! and hope the tips help you out along the way.


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