Photography in Bad Weather

Plans often don’t work out the way we think they will, but sometimes they work out even better than what we had in mind.

If you’re traveling, perhaps flew to a special location, and due to schedule restrictions have only one day to get those spectacular mountain shots, what happens if that day is cold, rainy, and miserable? A pro would shoot anyway and see it as an opportunity to capture some extraordinary scenes. Instead of blue skies and fluffy clouds, you’ll get intense scenes dripping with the atmosphere of fog, rain, mist, or maybe even unexpected snow.

Unusual weather in a photograph can be incredibly interesting. And, although rain might drive humans indoors, animals still remain outdoors. Some might shield themselves under trees, but some are totally unbothered and remain in the open. Another bonus is that the tourists will often leave and you’ll have the space to yourself.

Here are some things to carry in your photography bag for unexpected weather:

  • A rain shield for your camera. These don’t need to be expensive; photography stores sell long, clear plastic bags under $20 that are made for lenses.
  • Soft lens cloth to wipe water droplets off your glass. (Rain sleeves will protect the outside of your camera, but can’t protect the front glass or filter.)
  • A raincoat, with a hood, that is big enough at the front that you can tuck your camera into so that it’s protected from direct rain while you’re walking to get your next shot, but easily accessible if a beautiful bird flies into view or a wild animal crosses your path.
  • Gloves to keep your fingers warm and nimble for those camera adjustments.
  • Proper footgear so you don’t get too cold and are able to walk for longer periods in damp conditions.

After your photo shoot, when you return to your hotel room, it’s important that your camera and lens remain out in the open to dry naturally. Never pack a damp camera away because fungus might grow inside of it. If necessary, use the recommended cleaning solution on your lens to remove any water stains or their resulting salt stains in the case of ocean water. And enjoy those unusual photos!

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