Finding photography’s silver lining
Great weather can’t be summoned on cue, but bleak skies needn’t spoil your travel photographs either. In the current issue #39 of get lost magazine, photography expert Steve Davey shares his tips for shooting in poor conditions…
“I am the undisputed rain man. Not in a Dustin Hoffman sort of way. On every trip I have taken in the past six or seven years I have experienced some sort of precipitation. A good outcome from all these drenchings is that, whether it be rain, snow, drizzle or a colossal thunderstorm, I have developed a number of ways of taking good shots when the weather has let me down.
My first piece of advice: don’t be a fair-weather photographer.
If you lock yourself away when the weather is dismal you are unlikely to come away with any photographs at all. Head out to take pictures whatever the weather, and who knows what you will come back with.
A common mistake made by people is trying to capture the same shots they’d have taken in good conditions. You can always shoot – day or night, rain or shine – but you won’t necessarily be able to take the shots you envisaged. You need to improvise.
Try to shoot cityscapes or wide sweeping landscapes in drizzling rain and you are likely to be disappointed. Instead shoot what is actually there and, crucially, try to capture how it feels to be there.
It helps to include something that gives poor weather a context, such as a group of people carrying colourful umbrellas or running for cover. Puddles of rain on footpaths are excellent for creating reflections that will lift dull shots, especially if you are shooting at night when they can mirror floodlit buildings.
There are times when bad weather will produce a more atmospheric image than sunny conditions. Some places even cry out to be photographed in the rain, for example Vietnamese paddy fields and virtually anywhere in Ireland. Try to capture them at their most iconic.
Never give up and head home; show a bit of patience and you might be rewarded with stunning, unique light. Some of the most dramatic shots I have ever taken have happened at the very end of a fruitless day of photography, when I was tempted to put the gear away and head to the nearest bar. Often when the sun is about to set, fingers of light will unexpectedly shine through the cloud cover, producing particularly striking effects.”
To read the full article by Steve Davey with more nitty-gritty advice and tips for keeping it dry, grab your copy of get lost.
get lost magazine’s latest blockbuster issue is out now! As well as covering Cuba, South Africa and kooky Tokyo, they’re featuring a Bucket list for 2014 made up of 40 tips from travel experts, insiders and jet-setting gurus including Richard Branson, John Travolta, Layne Beachley, Tony Wheeler and one of our founders, Darrell Wade!
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Vietnam photo © Steve Davey.