We have all experienced rained out holidays – or, at least, rained out holiday days. For photographers, this can often be frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be.
When travelling, you may not have your full range of protective gear with you. At a pinch, a plastic bag can make a simple rain or snow protector which will allow you to take a few shots. Make sure that moving parts like focus rings etc. are not obstructed. Of course, it should be used sparingly – which brings us to the next point.
Naturally, you will want to limit the time you and your equipment are at the mercy of the elements. Good planning is essential: decide in advance where you want to go and the images you hope to capture. Ideally, set up your camera in the safety of your accommodation so you don’t have to change too many settings while water is dripping off the end of your nose into the electronics.
Once you arrive at your destination, choose your location, angle and framing before removing your camera from your camera bag (ideally wrapped in your plastic bag or other protective covering). Take the shot, then shake off excess water and, if necessary, wipe the camera dry before returning it safely to the bag.
A note on storing your camera before and after shooting in the cold: it does pay to avoid subjecting your camera to sudden temperature changes. Don’t store your camera equipment next to the radiator in your room before taking it out into the winter weather. More importantly, avoid taking cold cameras and lenses out in warm, humid environments, as this can result in condensation forming.
Allow the camera to gradually acclimatise in the bag, ideally at a somewhat lower room temperature (like a hallway or basement). If your equipment is subjected to moisture, either through rain or condensation, remove the battery and allow the camera to dry out completely. And, speaking of batteries – they tend to drain much faster in cold temperatures, so always take a spare or two with you.
Finally, a note on editing your rain and snow photos: there is often an overwhelming urge to turn pictures of challenging weather into dramatic monochrome images, particularly in urban environments. Experiment with other ideas – use contrast and saturation to bring out colours rather than remove them, decrease the clarity of the photo for a dreamy effect or play with the white balance to create a warmer or cooler look.