There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong gear – a sentence which is often heard or read when it comes to rainy (or just bad) weather. For photography a lot of weather conditions are attractive! Dark clouds can add significant drama, rivers and creeks have more water than usual and the visibility might be lower than in clear bright sky. Maybe one can even see clouds rising from wet woods which creates very moody scenes. Overall, it sounds like a good idea to go out and try to make some nicely moody photos!
Regarding the hiking experience, the visual experience is of course the same. Yet paths might be more slippery, crossing rivers / creeks might be more challenging and overall, a bit more dirty and slippery. And of course, you want to be prepared for rain. – And this is where the actual story starts. We decided that rain (or a rainy weather forecast) shouldn’t be a blocker for our activities. So we decided to get some rain trousers and a rain poncho. A poncho has the advantage that it is very breezy and you can throw it over super quickly. Camera-wise it’s not too bad either because you can keep the camera under the poncho and have it rain-protected automatically. An alternative would be a water proof jacket with camera clip and for example a shower cap over the camera.
One rainy weekend seemed to be great for testing the gear and practicing some rainy photography. So, we headed to a location with some nice water-motives and started a small hike.
Questions and Learnings
Hiking wise: I can definitely recommend testing the gear in easy conditions! You just know what to expect when you need it. Especially: is it really waterproof? Convenience of handling. Any side effects like water running down your jacket but then soaking into your shoes? The degree of insulation – you probably want to avoid heat accumulation and sweating, …
Photography wise: Same – how can you handle the equipment so that it doesn’t get all wet? At least my camera and lenses are not water proof – so I’m paranoid. How (often) to clean the lens? Do you want a rain cap (a shower cap for ex.) for the camera and lens and does it work as expected?
One factor I totally underestimated was the reduced daylight. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring a tripod which was a bit uncomfortable because I had to compensate with high ISO, large aperture or try to stabilize in any other way. Another annoying factor was the spray of water near waterfalls. A soft tissue to clean the lens is definitely recommended. Next time I should also mount the tiny rain cap to the camera. Handling is then a little cumbersome but at least I wouldn’t be worried all the time about my camera getting soaked from above.
None of the disturbances alone were that bad. But all in all, the conditions drew so much attention that I was distracted quite a bit from the actual photography process so that I didn’t concentrate enough in composition etc. And – regarding all the experience gained at this hike I would say: the whole phot process just takes longer in bad weather. The ground is slippery and more challenging plus cleaning and protecting the gear against water / spray is yet another additional activity that draws attention.
But that’s exactly the learning experience I was aiming for so that I can prepare better for the next time.