about More Musing

We are focusing on building a community, bringing the Mortal Muses photographers together, and making the world a bit smaller. On this page, you will find mission: MUSE, muse university and special features.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

what inspires you? - the kat eye view of the world

mission: MUSE - "what inspires you?"

"muse university" special edition with giveaway
by  muse kat sloma 

exploring with a camera - Inspired by the Rain

With the change in seasons, in the places I've lived the last 12 years or so, we wave good-bye to the consistently sunny days and welcome the wet. Rain will be a consistent part of life for the next few months as winter comes on, with the occasional break in the monotony for snow or sun when we're lucky. A rainy day is a great time to curl up under a blanket, with a book and a cup of tea. It is also a great time to get out and photograph!

A while ago I wrote a blog post that said when life gives you rain, you should take photos anyway. Today let's explore the ways to capture the beauty to be found in the rain...

The light is completely different in the rain. First off, it's usually cloudy during the day, which provides softer, indirect light. Second, the wet surfaces reflect the light in completely different ways than dry surfaces. The photo at the top of the post is a good example of this - the leaf and the stones are highlighted by the reflections of the light. What would be an interesting composition for it's contrast when dry, gains even more interest for the way the individual elements stand out from the light on the water. 

This photo from Orvieto, Italy is a daytime example of how the wet ground reflects the light, drawing your focus along the ground from the bright doorway in the top left down toward the scooter in the bottom right.

The wet ground in this photo of Bath, England at night serves to contrast and highlight the row of benches along the sidewalk. As I mentioned in my Exploring with a Camera post on Night Photography, wet surfaces at night can add much needed light for taking photos at night.

Not only is the light reflected, but you can get great image reflections as well with a smooth surface or a puddle. The thin layer of water on this smooth concrete makes a wonderful mirror for the leaves on the ground.

This puddle in Piazza San Marco in Venice serves to reflect the geometry of the famous tables and chairs, making a more interesting composition than the tables and chairs alone.

And while we're talking about puddles, how about capturing some splashing through them? Of course, this image is a bit more sedate than most puddle-splashing pictures, a capture of Italian rain fashion more than splashing but you get the idea. The movement of water in the puddle along with the reflections makes the photo more than just photo of rainboots.

Out in the rain, look for ways the water moves across and off surfaces. This restaurant table was so highly polished that the rain water beaded up into interesting shapes, a nice backdrop for the flowers.

Look for the drips ready to fall...

Look for the drops that grace the leaves.

It's also fun to capture people in the rain. They are more "anonymous" with their hoods and umbrellas, hunched up and hurrying along. I like to capture groups of colorful umbrellas, as on this bridge in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Or the lone traveller, trying to get someplace at night in Venice. People with umbrellas are quite the artistic staple, if you look at paintings through history.

Here we have quite a few different elements that I love in one rainy shot... umbrellas, multiple reflections, at night, and it's Venice. How could you go wrong?

There are so many ways I have yet to capture the rain, these are the images I'm still looking for:
- Looking out of a window covered in raindrops. Focus on the drops, with the scenery out of focus behind.
- Rain spilling out of our very cool dragon-shaped rainspout or off the edges of eaves.
- The rain in a downpour - I want to figure out how to capture the "look" of the world when you look through rain.
- Drops of rain splashing in puddles - oh those perfect, rippling circles just tantalize me!

So, how do you do shoot in the rain without ruining your camera? Here are a few tips:

1. Use an umbrella. If you have someone along with you, ask them to hold it over you and your camera when you shoot. If you don't have that option (or don't want to ask your companion to hold your umbrella every 15 seconds), a bigger umbrella works better than a small one for this "solo" technique: Rest the handle between your neck and shoulder with the umbrella resting on the top of your head. This will enable both hands to be free and your camera to be covered while you shoot. It does take some practice though, but try it out.

2. Find sheltering spots. Store awnings and overhangs, doorways, under trees, etc. can be great places to pause and have a little bit of protection from the rain while you shoot. Watch out under trees though - the drops might be less frequent but they are often bigger!

3. Keep your camera protected between shots. Work out a system that enables you to quickly and easily but your camera in and out of your bag. I carry my camera across my body, and my camera bag the same way. I can take my camera in and out of my bag easily, so when it's rainy I can put it away between shots but easily get it out for the next one. Another thing I will sometimes do, especially when it's light rain, is just tuck the camera between my body and the bag. It's mostly protected but easily accessible. When it's heavier rain though, I keep it in the bag!

4. Use a camera cover. You can buy rain covers for your camera, but I've found them to be kind of pricey and I don't want something bulky I have to carry around "just in case" it rains. Another practically free alternative for an SLR camera is to use a plastic grocery bag (you know, the ones you get in just about any grocery store) and a rubber band. Tear a hole at the bottom of the bag near one corner, this is where you put the lens looking out. Use the rubber band to secure the bag at the end of your lens, then just wrap the bag up around the camera with the handles coming around the back. When you want to shoot, just open up the handles and hold the camera as normal inside the bag. It might look weird, but it's cheap and easy, and a spare bag wrapped up with a rubber band does not take up much space in your camera bag.

5. Don't worry about a few drops of water on your camera. I don't. A few drops on my equipment have never hurt anything - I just make sure that it doesn't get completely wet. By keeping the camera mostly protected in the ways I've described above, my equipment has remained in good working order even if I shoot in rainy weather. Keep something soft and dry handy to wipe off the lens though, you will experience drips now and again!

Now that you are armed and ready for the weather, I would love to see your rain photos! Stop by The Kat Eye View of the World next Thursday to link to your rain photos (recent or archive) in the "Share Your View" post. Whatever you do - don't just put the camera away when the clouds start rolling in. Enjoy the different photo opportunities that the rain provides.

Leave me a comment and be eligible for today's giveaway...  this gorgeous rainbow umbrella to be used as a fun photo prop or for Exploring With A Camera in the rain.

Remember this motto - "When life gives you rain, take photos anyway!"


repost by - Kat

Join us every weekend for a new Muse University post!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. i love taking rainy days picture =) i love your photos. i did one rainy day shot before as i was sitting on a coffee shop, and i actually loved it and begged it to stay ~ http://www.blueelephantphotography.com/blog/2010/09/08/rainy-day-please-stay/

  3. the rain can be so beautiful. I LOVE the photo of the lone traveler.

  4. i recently took a bunch of photos in the rain near a tourist attraction. i love how the rain can chase people away from an otherwise usually crowded area. it gives it a whole new perspective.

  5. I love shooting in the rain! I also love your shots you posted, especially the one in Bath, my favorite place ever!!!!!

  6. Great inspiration Kat, especially with the "dreary" season ahead (at least for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere)!

    Looking forward to seeing the rain next time around!

  7. This post is incredibly thorough, and helpful, and beautiful! But I want to know if it is possible to take anything other than a beautiful shot in Italy:)

  8. Your rain photos are gorgeous, Kat! I actually love to take pictures in or right after the rain, it is so beautiful. Thank you for all your inspiration!

  9. Such beautiful photos. Even on such dreary days there is beauty.

  10. I love the rain. These photos explore how beautiful rain is everywhere. Bravo. Marsha, Enchanticals

  11. So inspired. I want it to rain now! My rain dance is not working. :)

  12. This is great, thank you. I love taking photos in the rain and snow. What did it for me was my clear plastic bubble umbrella. It's big, so it's easy to rest on my shoulder, and since it's clear it doesn't block any of the precious little light we have on rainy and snowy days. The one I owned for a year just broke, so I ran out immediately to get a new one -- I couldn't live without it. I should buy stock in the company.

  13. This post urges me to brave a little bad weather to get some great photos!

  14. Thank you for the tips! I recently just answered the question "what inspires you lately in your photography?" And I said weather...the way the same subject can look completely different depending on the weather...sun, rain, clouds, etc. And my very favorite is rain, the reflections, dew drops....

  15. Wanted to let you know this post inspired me. When it started raining this evening I grabbed my camera and found myself rolling around on my parents front porch (what the neighbors must think) exploring rain photography. It was so much fun!

  16. So many great tips! Thanks for the inspiration!

  17. i hardly shoot in the rain for paranoia of my camera, but you've inspired me to do so. its rainy today! those images make you feel like you were there.

  18. every one of these shots are beautiful, truly inspiring me for November, not always my best photographic month. thank you for this new perspective, I can only hope as as successful :)

  19. I am loving all these rain shots! Thanks for all the great inspiration