How to Shoot on Rainy Days

by | Sep 1, 2013 | Tips & Tricks | 1 comment

The locals weren’t kidding when they said this time of year in Alaska was the rainy season. After the few days of sunshine last weekend, the clouds moved in and haven’t left. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t stopped seeking for “wow” pictures!

A Break in the Clouds

3181_Chugach National Forest-Alaska-USA_Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 105 mm, 1-15 sec at f - 8.0, ISO 800

Clouds have permeated the sky practically every morning and evening for the past week. It’s discouraging to wake up to gray fog, hike around in gray mist, and go to bed under gray clouds. What makes cloudy days hard is that everything is gray and colorless which kinda takes out the fun of taking pictures. Add to this the fact that I can’t see the majesty of the nearby mountains, and I just feel like stowing away the camera to cozy up by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate.

While this is indeed what I have felt like doing the past few days (and I must say that I certainly have let the camera sit in my bag for many a morning and evening lately) I must remember that the same God Who controls the weather gives persistence and creativity to the photographer.

Though I had lost all hope for a sunset over Turnagain Arm on our afternoon drive from Homer to Wasilla, I persisted that we still be there at the time of sunset just in case. When we arrived, it was more cloudy than ever, so I gave up all hope. But then suddenly and completely unexpectedly, the clouds on the western horizon turned purple and it was all we could do to drive to a spot where we could see the sun breaking through the clouds. The colorful phenominon only lasted for a few minutes and would have been lost had it not been for persistence.

When it’s cloudy and gray, you have to be creative too. What about when the sun doesn’t miraculously break through the clouds?

Rain Over Turnagain Arm

2751_Chugach National Forest-Alaska-USA_Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 24 mm, 1-50 sec at f - 9.0, ISO 400

I lean most heavily on composition techniques when I can’t find color in my pictures. In this shot, taken from an ordinary, and almost ugly overlook along the Seward Highway, I kept a number of things in mind. Knowing that a simple foreground was important, I purposely included only a few of the mass of jumbled rocks that were piled on the shore. I knew an interesting foreground was important too, so I included the “pointy” rock to give some visual interest. I then balanced that rock with the dark mountain on the left, but made sure to include the ends of the mountains on the right to have a place for the eye to go into the resulting valley. I liked the energetic, diagonal line of the seacoast and tried not to interrupt it with the rocks so the eye could race along it unhindered. Finally, I hoped that using an unnaturally cool white balance would help it from looking as dull, gray, and boring as it actually was.

When all else fails, remember that you’re just taking pictures for the fun of it anyway. When you use your imagination, you make awesome discoveries: bet you didn’t know Nessie migrated to Alaska!

Turnagain Monster

2742_Chugach National Forest-Alaska-USA_Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 28 mm, 1-160 sec at f - 8.0, ISO 400

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1 Comment

  1. Katie

    Amazing! Beautiful shot of the water!


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