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Taking Pictures in Bad Weather part 1

By Eric Hartwell

It's always a struggle going out in bad weather. Cold days and nights, rain, fog and that welcoming warm fire at home. But, if you can overcome the temptation to stay at home then you could get some great images.

Rain is wet, but it brings forth opportunities for great photos. Reflections, highlights and the beautiful glistening of water on plants. Puddles, bloated rivers and people in raincoats and holding umbrellas. Don't forget the chances of seeing dramatic skies and cloud formations and wait for the sun to burst through an overcast sky spreading light onto the wet world below.

There are ways to keep your equipment dry - but staying in shouldn't be one of them! Umbrellas are effective but difficult to hold. However, if you have a rucksack then you can slide the handle in-between the rucksack and your back. You might feel silly but it will enable you to use both hands to get some great pictures. Even a plastic bag is effective and if you want to spend a fortune, you can get customised waterproof covers for your model of camera. Look, also, for shelter - shop fronts, bus shelters, buildings, trees etc. But don't forget, it is unlikely that your equipment will suffer any lasting damage just because you have got a few drops of rain on it. One tip I picked up just recently is to always have an elastic band handy so that you can attach things to your equipment to protect it.

Have a good look around as you will see many opportunities for a good picture. Rain reflects light - look in puddles and other standing areas of water. In towns and cities you will find shops, statues and just about every other object look different in the wet and, more importantly, reflect off standing water or moist paths and roads. Car lights can create pleasing reflections on damp or wet roads.

You will be using longer exposure times and therefore may be best taking a tripod with you. If you don't have one then improvise - a wall, bean bag, leaning the camera against an upright or horizontal object (e.g. a bench).

Eric Hartwell runs the photography resource site and the associated discussion forums as well as the regular weblog at

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