• Caroline Pang

How to photograph in bad weather?

Bad weather is one of the challenges for travel photography. This is especially disappointing when you are travelling on vacation and you have only that one day to be at that  particular place.  

So, don’t let bad weather stop you from photographing. Be creative.

Here are some examples to create images while waiting for the rain to stop.

Look for some point of interest to make your images. For example, in the following picture, colours and people will always liven the dull scene of a poor or bad weather. 

If there is not much of texture in the cloud to create something dramatic, avoid the sky as much as possible. Instead, look for interesting subjects without getting the sky in the picture

Well, having said that, sometimes you might want the dull sky in the picture too, to show the mood and ambience of the actual situation of that moment. 

These two photos (above and below) were shot in Ulaanbaatar Mongolia. It was the opening ceremony of the nationwide summer festival called Naadam. I have only that few hours to document this event. It has been raining heavily throughout the day. Zoom lens came in handy in this situation when I had to take shelter and was standing at a distance. 

There are always some splashes of colours somewhere, be it night or day, rain or shine.  In the following image, lights came on in all the shops when the storm turned the day darker. Those lights added some colours to the dull moment. I took this shot from the corridor of the opposite shop.

Always look out for spontaneous shots especially with people, which can be quite animated. 

Make use of the puddle of water, if there is any, to create nice reflection. It would be even more interesting with colourful lights.

Always keep the camera dry. Some camera brands have well fitted rain cover. Check that out in the camera store. 

Sometimes, I use a plastic bag over my camera when I have to be in the rain to take some nice shots that I don't want to miss.

Most camera bags have rain cover too. If there is none. A poncho would do the work. I carry a poncho with me all the time. Easy to slip in and out. It covers me and my camera bag. An umbrella above your head would be ideal. That is, if there is someone to hold that for you.

Use a lens hood to prevent droplets of water on the lens and to avoid lens flare.

I carry two microfiber cloths. A small piece for the lens and a hand towel size for the camera. They come in handy to wipe off water drops on the camera and lens. 

Having said all that, its all about common sense to avoid being out there when there are strong wind, heavy rain and lightning.

Have fun photographing on rainy days!

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