Wet Weather? Time to get out with your camera.

Posted by on Jul 21, 2012 in Blog | 5 comments

Wet Weather? Time to get out with your camera.





















Every one of these images was taken in or around pouring rain. Over the past eight years I have chosen to photograph more and more in these conditions. I have to admit that it was initially with reluctance; the blue sky, white fluffy cloud days that I hoped to photograph were so few and far between that I just ignored the weather man and headed out anyway. Every time I returned, soaked and chilled with a clutch of new images I was delighted with the drama and atmosphere I had captured. Now, I do listen to forecasts but mostly to confirm that there will be some cloud and possibly more. With the absence of strong directional light, particularly through the foreground I am able to capture an enormous amount of detail throughout the scene. Importantly to me it’s the sort of detail that you can keep coming back to again and again, subtle colour and tone that offers a longevity to the viewer that I feel stronger light often fails to deliver.





















Crucially for me, using film helps me to capture the softness in the light that I have yet to see in a digitally captured image. I’m sure that day will come but at a huge (and unjustifiable) financial cost to me and my current work flow. I’m lucky too that I use such a basic camera; I once heard Scottish landscape photographer Ian Cameron refer to his Pentax 6×7 camera as ‘steam driven’ in which case mine must surely be ‘horse drawn’. As such I don’t really have to worry about wet weather or submersion in a river. The wood on my camera does swell a bit when it gets wet but I just have to loosen a few screws and I’m back in action, there’s no risk of anything going fizz or pop signalling a costly trip to the repair centre.





















If climatologists are correct in their predictions that global warming is set to make Britain a more stormy country then this Summer will probably be less rare than we think. Coupled with milder, wetter Winters too we may find that England’s weather may be more similar to that in Scotland. Personally (and only on a photographic level) I find that prospect quite exciting, so long as the midge doesn’t turn up with it.

Producers of camera gear will soon jump on the bandwagon and produce a broader range of accessories to help deal with the wet. Many do already but I would like to see clamp on umbrellas for tripods more widely available to help where I don’t have a willing assistant, a waterproof darkcloth that attaches around the front standard of my camera to keep it and me dry. I have a Paramo but don’t useit because I cannot make a decent tube using the friction created between my hair and the fabric which is far too slippery. My Gnassgear cloth with a narrower front end and waterproof outer layer would make the perfect tool for me. Smaller waterproof darkcloths for digital cameras would be perfect, allowing users to view detail on their rear screens too.

In this final image taken at Taynish National Nature Reserve in Argyll, the rain was coming down in sheets. I had seen the potential for a decent image while walking past on the way down to the old mill and loved the fact that the rain had turned the Loch surface from its usual gloss sheen to a wonderful satin finish, reflective and yet opaque. Fortunately going with a friend meant that I had all the help I needed keeping the camera and more importantly the film holders dry while setting up and shooting the image. We were both soaked to the skin but my goodness the tea and buscuits were ten times as good when we got back.





















Getting out and photographing in the rain can be so satisfying. Coming back with images despite the weather, fighting the elements to make your pictures work and finding out that they can look amazing on a grey day can be a revelation. Rather than sitting inside feeling frustrated, get out. Even if you don’t take a single shot you will have filled your lungs with fresh air which had to be one of the reasons you chose to take up landscape photography in the first place wasn’t it?


  1. Well said Richard.

    Usually the photographer gives up before the gear! Mind you given the latest announcement by Fuji you better restock the hay loft for your horse-drawn camera. Guy

    • Thanks Guy, I was running low anyway so was about to order some more from America. Perhaps I need to double or triple the order size if the rumours are true (I say rumours because Fuji now have a track record of making press releases and then performing instant U turns)

  2. Completely agree Richard. Gave up the golden hour years ago, and am fully embracing all day photography, shooting when the combination of light , weather and subject come together. I love the moods of your photographs. Scotland does offer so much of that due to its wonderfully diverse landscape and unique light.. be interesting to see how things go in your photography now your moving south (well not that far south I here lol)
    As for the Velvia 50 going away for 4×5… if its true, it is one sad day. It came back when they stopped it before… but i think this time, what with digital making great strides.. it will all sadly go away quite soon I think, Provia will be next. Col neg is nice for certain looks, but the cost of getting an image to print is more difficult and expensive for many. If it wasn’t i wouldnt be so sad about Velvia as I love its more subtle tones and greater dynamic range. But iso 50 film for large format … man…. its going to be missed a lot!

  3. I’m gradually coming to the same opinion, Richard – but I find it difficult to commit to filling the car with gear (and fuel) and heading away for a couple of days when the forecast is for rain.
    I guess I’m just going to have to do it to see for myself just how much these conditions offer. (Though I am still working in digital.)

    ps – I absolutely love the final two images here; they’re long been among my favourites from your portfolio.

    With All Best Wishes,

  4. I’d love to do more wet weather photography. We don’t get enough of it here though (Canberra.)

    Love your work mate.

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