Tips for Landscape Photography in the RainJul 04, 2023
Weather can infuse undeniable beauty into a landscape scene. Here in Alberta, we photographers have many opportunities to embrace rainy weather during the spring, summer and fall months. Steady rain and drizzly days bring in atmospheric, moody low clouds that cling to mountain peaks. On other days, thunderstorms build across the prairies showcasing lighting and photogenic storm cells.
Although rainy days can infuse atmosphere and drama into our photos, the element of rain is not always easy to embrace in landscape photography. Often our cameras don’t play well in wet and humid conditions.
Here are a few tips on creating spectacular landscape photos during rainy weather.
1. Protect your gear
Everyone knows that water and electronics aren’t friends. Even if you own a weather-sealed pro camera body, it’s still possible for water to cause problems with your camera’s function. A quality rain sleeve is always a good investment for those rainy days. I also always have an umbrella handy to protect my camera and keep me dry while I set up composition and exposure. Lens hoods are also helpful, as they can help keep some of those falling raindrops off your lens. Small microfiber clothes to wipe away rain drops are necessary, and I always have several tucked into my pockets. A more oversized microfiber towel is also a great idea and will help dry off wet tripods and other photography equipment. I also keep silica gel packets in my camera bag to help draw humidity and moisture away from damp equipment. Speaking of my camera bag, I highly recommend you invest in a high-quality waterproof bag to carry your gear. I use the 37-litre Ajna by f-stop, made with high-quality, more robust, lighter, and more weather-resistant DuraDiamond® fabric. I can offer an Ambassador discount if you’re interested in f-stop products; let me know!
ISO 400, 18mm, f9, 0.8 seconds
2. Stay safe
Flash floods, lightning, hail and tornados can come alongside landscape photography in the rain. Some incredibly photogenic images can be captured on storm chase days; however, safety is a priority. Learn to use weather radar. Weather radar apps like My Lightning Tracker, RadarScope, and Radar Omega are a few of my favourites. Radar will help keep you safe and even dry. It is possible to skirt the edge of supercells and not even see a drop of rain.
Photo credit @cammckillican on Instagram
When the rain clears, and the sun comes out, watch for it…a rainbow, that is! Be aware of the position of the sun as those storms roll through. As the storm passes around, there’s potential for a rainbow to appear. Knowledge about the conditions needed for the presence of a rainbow will help you anticipate if one might appear. When you do this, you give yourself the opportunity for rainbow images. In fact, by using this approach, I captured four different rainbows at different locations as summer rain storms rolled through the mountains late one afternoon.
Here are the conditions that will favour seeing a rainbow. The sun will likely be behind you, projecting hard light onto your composition. The sun’s angle in the sky will be lower. That’s why those late-day thunderstorms favour rainbow scenes.
ISO 800, 70mm, f10, 1/320 ss
This summer, there is no need to sing, “Rain, rain, go away, come again another day.” The challenges of this type of weather can result in unique and stunning landscape photos.