Monday, April 13, 2009

Instructor's Tip: Rain

I hope you enjoy this week's "Instructor's Tip" by one of my favorite instructors, award winning nature photographer Russ Burden. To learn more about how Russ captured the above image, join him on one of his photo tours. Visit Russ Burden Photography to get more information.


“Bummer,” I say to myself as the weather channel shows a cloudless sky and full moon across the screen. No shots of city lights reflected off rain soaked streets or streaks of car lights reflecting back the mirrored surface of Interstate 25. “Bummer,” I say to myself while standing in a deciduous forest of maples, oaks and birches. No shots of saturated autumn colored leaves carpeting the forest floor with a polyurethaned look of a fall shower upon them. “Bummer,” I say to myself as I gaze upon a sunlit cobblestone street below. Imagine what a great shot it would be if the rain was falling and a lone figure with a red umbrella walked beneath me.

Don’t get me wrong. The sun is a great ally when it comes to photography. But when it’s obstinate and hides itself behind a layer of dew point saturated clouds, I still head out with my camera. What does change is threefold: What I wear, what I bring and what I photograph.

First and foremost, keeping myself protected is my primary consideration. If I’m wet and miserable, I won’t want to stay out and take pictures. Commensurate with how I feel, the quality of my images will rapidly decline. A waterproof hiking boot is a must. I’ve also invested in a pair of storm socks. They’re neoprene on the outside and fleece on the inside. Even if my boots fail, my socks keep me warm and dry.

Keeping the camera dry can be accomplished a number of ways depending on the intensity of the rain and how long it’s exposed to the elements. Towel drying should work in drizzle type conditions. I also keep the camera and lens inside my waterproof jacket. The only drawback to this is moisture can build up inside if I’m active.


Take a class with Russ or a fellow Digital Photo Academy instructor in your area, check out the Digital Photo Academy. I took Russ' intermediate and advanced courses last year, and he continues to be a strong source of knowledge and encouragement as I progress in my photography.

Don't forget to check Take Great Pictures for Russ' most recent tips. On the home page, click on the "Photo Tips And Techniques" button in the left hand column. Additionally, check out his "Digital Tip of the Month" found by clicking on the Digital Photography button.

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