The Audubon Sanctuary: Photography in the Rain

August 29, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

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August 29 - 2This bumblebee waits out the rain under cover of the thistle. The butterfly walk I had planned for this morning was rained out, but I went to the sanctuary anyway, not only to see if anyone was intrepid enough to show up in the rain, but also to find out the answer to my question:  Do butterflies fly in the rain?  It turns out I could have Googled that answer (it is no, because their wings are too heavy from being wet), but I wanted to see for myself.  After all, birds fly in the rain, so what about butterflies?  

Although the main attraction at the sanctuary for the butterflies, the purple thistle, was loving the rain, the butterflies were not.  I found one lone bumblebee that appeared to be asleep at the base of a thistle bloom.  

August 29 - 3August 29 - 3 I thought I would give you some tips for photographing in the rain.  First, dress everything for the weather:  rain gear and rubber boots for yourself, and rain gear for your camera.  I use a waterproof cape that I made for the camera, but even a jumbo sized Ziplock bag with a hole cut for the lens will work well.  Here are some resources for camera covers at B&H. 

August 29 - 1Grasses and seeds and droplets make a pretty abstract. When using a camera cape or cover, it helps to use the lens hood.  It will provide a nice, hard surface to snug up the rain sleeve around the lens, while keeping the lens an inch or so out of the elements.  Keep a couple of microfiber cleaning cloths in your pocket and check the front of the lens often for water droplets or mist.  It is also best to use a tripod, which frees your hands for wiping down the lens, making adjustments to the camera settings through the plastic or under the cape, and enabling you to use slower shutter speeds in low light conditions.  When shooting in the rain, you will probably need a higher ISO.  Check the histogram and adjust your settings so that your shots are not underexposed.

If your backpack does not have a built in rain jacket, you can use a plastic trash bag to cover the bag while you're wearing it.  Shake it off, lay it on the ground, and you have a place to set your camera bag down for a minute while you get out your gear.  Pack some dry clothing in your car so that when you are done shooting, you can strip off the wet stuff and change into something dry; there's no sense in soaking the seats of your car for the drive home.

IncomingIncomingOne of my favorite rain shots, at Antietam. Some of my favorite photos were taken in the rain, so don't let gentle rains and showers spoil your camera outing.  However, in downpours, high winds, and thunderstorms/hurricanes, use common sense and don't take unnecessary risks.  Have fun with your photography, no matter the weather!

<Thanks for reading my blog entry, which is part of a personal photography project to bring attention to and to benefit the Fred Archibald Sanctuary in New Market, MD.  The sanctuary is owned and managed by the Audubon Society of Central Maryland.  Copyright 2017 Cam Miller.  All photographs are for sale upon request.>


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