Singin' In The Rain

Well, I'm back from Alaska.  Alaska is a wonderful place to enjoy wildlife and landscapes that can't be beat.  Our family enjoyed our three years there in the late '80s, courtesy of the US Army.   It was a wonderful trip, and every day I was out with my camera.  I took more than 2,000 photos, but didn't get the shots I was most hoping for in Kenai Fjords National Park.  It rained in Portage and the following day, in Seward, the winds were blowing briskly with the rain.  A bunch of sissies on the boat were getting seasick because of some mild five foot waves in Ressurection Bay.  The boat turned around.  I still managed to get a few photos.  When the weather is less than ideal and you're on a tight schedule, you have to shoot it like it is.  I guess you can just ignore the photo opportunity altogether, but what kind of photographer would do that?   So, I wrapped my camera in a RainSleeve; pulled my hat around to prevent litter in the bay; and stepped out of the boat cabin.  Captured here by my daughter-in-law.

The falling rain and accompanying mist can create some problems, but they can also lead to interesting photos that most people don't even try to take.  The rain and mist can simplify backgrounds and create moody images.  The reason is that the light is flat and can really reduce the contrast we are used to seeing in our photographs.  The solution is to think in monochrome, relying on composition, and not color, for interesting photographs.


As we boarded the Portage ferry, Ptarmigan, the captain standing in the rain, next to the bright life ring, in his weathered yellow hat made a nice shot.

There are some advantages to shooting in the overcast conditions.  The clouds greatly reduced the reflections on the water.  This came in handy when pointing my camera directly at the bay to capture this sea otter enjoying a lazy morning swim.  The clouds kept my camera's meter from going crazy trying to pick this gray whale out of a flashy background.

And, remember, the rain will eventually end.  There are lots of opportunities when the sun shines through holes in the clouds for really nice images.  (The sun came through as we were almost back to Anchorage, of course.)

Make sure you take care of your camera and lenses when you venture out in the weather.  I prefer the RainSleeves for my gear.  You can get a pair of them for about $5, and they'll last a long time if you don't rip them.  Many people use other methods like umbrellas or baggies with rubber bands.  A little moisture will probably not disable your camera, but don't expose it to unnecessary exposure.  Wipe down your gear with a soft, absorbent cloth and let it dry completely.  Obviously, you should never change lens in these conditions.  Doing so will expose your sensor to damage.

Take care, but go out in the rain with your camera.  You'll get some interesting photos, and it may be the only way to get them.