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Phil Douglis | profile | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery Seventy One: Making the most of a rainy day tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Gallery Seventy One: Making the most of a rainy day

Many photographers consider a rainy day a washout. That’s a shame, because it’s possible to make evocative, story-telling images when the skies darken, the winds blow, and the rains pour down upon us.

Before taking any digital camera out in the rain, however, be sure to tightly cover the body and lens barrel with a plastic shower cap or equivalent. (If rain enters a digital camera, it will quickly become inoperative.) The next important step is to find a sheltered vantage point to keep the rain off the glass surface of the lens itself. I start this gallery with eighteen images made in New York City, and I shot them from below the roof of a bus-stop shelter near one of the cities busiest intersections – 34th Street and Lexington Avenue. I hope to add more rainy-day images from future shoots.

(If you can’t find a bus-stop shelter to keep you dry, there are often other sheltered vantage points available, such as deep doorways, awnings, and marquees. Or even a large umbrella. If lightning should be present in the area, abandon the shoot. Holding a metal object in your hands during a lightning storm is not a good idea. No picture is worth the risk of injury or death.)

I used a long telephoto focal length – zooming between the equivalent of 200 to 400mm--- to make many of these New York rainy-day images. I could cover a lot of ground with it, reaching distant figures struggling across both streets, compressing the often-paralyzed traffic, and providing differing backgrounds. I built all of my images upon the effect of the rain on the people who braved the storm here. This gave me great content variation from image to image. There is plenty of emotion in these images, as well as evocative reflections. The wet glass of passing cars and buses also provided an abstracting medium for expression. Depending on shutter speed, the rain itself occasionally shows up as a textured curtain, as well as beating a textured tattoo on the concrete streets. I used my multiple-burst shooting mode on all of these images, shooting many frames to get one that best told the story.

I present this gallery, as usual, in "blog" style. A large thumbnail is displayed for each image, along with a caption explaining how I intended to express my ideas. If you click on the large thumbnail, you can see it in its full size, as well as leave comments and read the comments of others. I hope you will be able to participate in the dialogue. I welcome your comments, suggestions, ideas, and questions, and will be delighted to respond.