Photography on a Rainy Day

A day of rain provides great opportunities for photography, as is the case with this street scene in the old part of Salzburg, AustriaCanon 5D Mark III camera and Canon 24-105mm @ 65mm. Exposure Details: 1/15 second @ f11 ISO 400.

Can I Tell You a Secret?

I love the rain. When I was a kid I spent long hours staring out at the rain through the living room window. Later in life I experienced significant joy walking in the rain, properly attired of course. Then it stopped raining in my part of the world. In large parts of Australia we experienced 10 years of significantly reduced rainfall. Over the last 2 years things have improved dramatically, gardens are thriving and reservoirs, once again, are holding large quantities of life sustaining water.

There's no wonder that I feel good when it rains, despite the fact that the apartment I live in is prone to flooding.

The Approach

Now the fact that it's raining doesn't mean that you or your camera gear has to get wet. You could stay under a tree or verandah and record the world around you. In some cases you might even make interesting, maybe even humorous images of folks moving through that rain-sodden environment. And that's fine. But, rather than recording a space, I prefer moving through and exploring it at, I hope, a deeper level. 

Now I'm a lazy as anyone else on wet days. I love kicking back on the couch, though it does give me the opportunity to process photos and prepare blog posts. But traveling is different. Due to time and budget constraints its hard to stay inside during inclement weather.

The Solution

My approach is to see such times as an opportunity. Wet surfaces, when lit, glow and colors become more saturated. Likewise, at night, rain-bearing clouds hang heavily above a surreal, neon-lit earth.

How to Fill In a Rainy Day on the Road

So there I was on a grey, rainy day in Salzburg, Austria. Fortunately I'd already spent a bit of time in some of the cities more picturesque open spaces such as the beautiful Mirabell Gardens. It seemed like a good day to explore some of the old towns narrow streets. The overhanging buildings would provide my camera and lens a degree of protection from the falling rain. It worked a treat and I was able to photograph without too much trouble.

I like the amount of information within the scene and the sense of compression resulting from the use of the xxmm telephoto lens. The sweep of the street leads the eye through the photo and suggests what might lye beyond the edges of the frame. The scene is as much 2 as it is 3 dimensional. And that's kind of interesting, don't you think?

So, next time you experience a rainy day, consider grabbing your camera and committing photography. It works for me.

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Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru