Shootin’ in the Rain

Just a few weeks ago, I celebrated the change of season. The color change in the leaves, the crisp autumn breeze in the air, everything around us reminds us of fall. While it’s an invigorating time of year for me, there’s just one thing I forgot about…

Shooting in the rain kinda sucks.

Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love the rain. Whenever it rains, my wife and I open up all the windows in the house, breathe in the wonderful smell, and listen to it fall. I also love how rain looks in photographs. Actually capturing those photos, however? That’s a different story.

Like Brett, the idea of my camera getting wet terrifies me. In high school, I was shooting a short film and reviewing footage at the bottom floor of a parking garage when suddenly, a gush of water fell on me and destroyed my camera. Someone on the top floor thought it’d be a funny prank! Ever since then, even the smallest water drop on or even near my camera makes me nervous.

I won’t deny that I’m overly cautious. Most modern cameras are built with some kind of water resistance, and as long as you don’t go out in a downpour and pay close attention to how much water gets on your equipment, you’ll likely be okay.

Still, I like to play it safe, and have found these quick fixes can help ease my worries and allow me to enjoy that sweet, sweet rainfall.

Fake it

star wars k2so black series
“All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.”

The simplest and sometimes most effective way is to simply fake it. Make it look like you’re in a downpour, either through a bit of creative editing or by sitting underneath a covering. It could be an umbrella or awning, inside a gazebo, or under a heavy cover of trees.

The K-2SO shot above employed several of these methods. It was taken on my covered back patio, and given some extra rain in Photoshop. If you really want to sell the illusion, make sure to actually get some water on your subject. I’ve found that simply sticking the figure out into the actual rain does the trick while ensuring that you and your gear stay dry (and safe!)

Stay indoors completely!

This one might feel like cheating, but staying indoors and finding ways to shoot the rain outside can lead to some excellent photos.

lego friends 41305
Rain, rain, go away…

I’ve also found that a spray bottle with a slow shutter speed, or more magic in Photoshop, can turn any studio setup into a nice rainy scene as well!

lego singin' in the rain
“I’m siiiiiingin’ in the rain!”

Cover your gear

If you do want to be brave and venture out into a rainstorm to capture the perfect shot, go for it! Just make sure to protect yourself and your gear accordingly. Keep your head covered, wear layers, and cover your camera, either in an affordable rain resistant case, or even a simple plastic bag.

I personally like the plastic bag method, and have found great success with it in both rain and snow.

All dry!

The plastic bag trick isn’t a perfect fix, and may take some trial and error. Once you get it right though, you can turn inclement weather into a prime photo opportunity. Here’s a great video tutorial and how to achieve a seal better than the one I used above.

Do you brave the elements for your photography? What methods have you found helpful for keeping you and your gear safe? Let us know in the comments below! 

James

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Dealing with Fears of Rejection

“There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.” 

-Brene Brown

Our fears of rejection within the realm of photography vary by person – whether with putting an image on a social media platform and not getting any likes, or maybe getting negative comments, to submitting something to a publication or gallery and getting denied. As with any type of rejection or negativity it’s so important to not take these things too personally.

The internet for one is mean. Some people are just looking to get out their own insecurities and maybe you’re the unlucky one they’ve settled on today. Others may very well think they’re giving constructive criticism and therefore helping you – even when it’s uncalled for. Maybe they’re right, maybe they’re wrong, but in the end it’s all subjective. Continue reading Dealing with Fears of Rejection

Is the photographer invisable?

I read Jennifer’s lovely post about portraits and that made me think. And to be honest I haven’t been able to stop thinking about photography and the definitions in that post. Let me start by saying this isn’t me saying I know better – I just have to share my thoughts about how I look at photography all together.

A starting point

It all started when I read the definition of portraits:

a pictorial representation of a person usually showing the face” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary. 

There is two things I object to. The first is that portraits most be of “people” – and I think I share that objection with Jennifer. But second I also object to the part that portraits is a representation of a person. Because I always think that a portrait is  more than just that. From my point of view I think that we as photographer are a part of the picture. I don’t think that portrait’s only are a representation of the subject but also a representation of the photographer. Continue reading Is the photographer invisable?

Thinking inside the box

Let me admit that I am not a builder of models. I am a photographer. So, along with the budget, I also try to minimize the work I put into the sets (hence their slightly minimalist feeling).

To achieve this, I try to build sets which are so flexible that they can be put to multiple uses. And with the above room, I think it worked. The whole thing started when I held a wall with a pair of windows under the desk lamp. I had been ready to discard it because the windows had turned out to be too crooked for H0 scale use. But then I suddenly realized that they could still be used for lighting a room. Continue reading Thinking inside the box

The Basics – Selective Focus

Selective focus is another tool you should add to your photographic tool bag. When you’re a landscape photographer being able to focus to infinity is important, but is that skill really important for toy photography? What happens when you play with the focus point on your toys? Can you tell a better, or different story? In the fast paced world of social media, can you create an image that stands out when it’s initially hard to read? Lets find out… Continue reading The Basics – Selective Focus

The Basics – Close-up filters

What is a close-up filter? Close-up filters are basically reading glasses for your camera lens. They are a nifty, and extremely inexpensive, way to turn any lens into a macro lens.

You heard me right. You can change the focal length of your lens by simply screwing on a close-up filter. Think of them as reading glasses for your lens.

I love my 90mm Sony lens. In fact I adore it, but it never seems to get me as close as I want to be to my subject. While I love the incredible details in LEGO mini figures, i’ve been unable to capture them adequatly. It is these small details and flourishes that inspire me to photograph these toys. Continue reading The Basics – Close-up filters

Raging Rancor Deconstructed

When I present or post an image like this I get a lot of questions on how I made it. So I’ve made an effort to take a few behind the scenes photos as I shoot or prep a shot. Here’s my first attempt at deconstructing an image and the process that led to the final result. Hopefully, this will help answer a few questions regarding my editing process.

ELEMENTS

  • Rancor
  • Flashlight
  • Light Painting Brushes Universal Connector
  • Light Painting Brushes 9 inch White Fiber Optic Tool
  • Red gel (dollar store gift wrap)
  • Canon 5D
  • Canon 50mm Macro f/2.5
  • Manfrotto 190X Pro B

Continue reading Raging Rancor Deconstructed

And then there was light

“Light comes in flickers, defining the darkness, not dispelling it.”
Neil Gaiman, Neverwhere

Although lighting is crucial in the Noir series, I never payed attention to how exactly I proceed. I do not know much about light. I only have a general idea of the look I want to achieve. And then I kind of play around, which at the end of the day leaves me with lots of pictures that are ‘same but different,’ as they say.

However, since the lighting in this series has been commented on a couple of times, I tried to pay more attention to the process. Here’s what I think I do:

It all started with ideas about lighting

At one point for example, I wanted the central person to be illuminated by light falling out of a door or a window, casting a long shadow. That’s how Noir started, and you can tell from the first pictures of the series that in the beginning, there was the light, and then the story followed. Continue reading And then there was light

The $5 Photograph

I’ll readily admit I have a lot of supplies for my toy photography – various toys, camera equipment and other gear.

I don’t have the latest and greatest anything, but I make what I have, and what I can further source, work for me.

This concept can be true at any range of your budget. While social media can make it seem like you need a $2000 camera and $300 figure to make it in this field/hobby that’s far from true. Continue reading The $5 Photograph

6 Ways to Fix your Photo Funk

Discouragement, fear, demotivation, I’ve discussed these way too much at this point here (I promise I’ll write about something else soon). But no matter how many posts I write (which end up being extensions of lectures I’ve given myself) about forgetting the world and creating for yourself, there is always more to say.

I am very good at not taking pictures. I’ll have tons of ideas itching at my brain, the supplies to make each one and absolutely no motivation. Whether stress, general creative discouragement, or a world of other thoughts in my head, sometimes I just can’t bring myself to create. The problem there, is that then I mentally beat myself up for not making photos and the cycle continues. Continue reading 6 Ways to Fix your Photo Funk