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Gary Randall - Shoot when the conditions are bad  


Here in the Pacific Northwest there's a good portion of the year in which the rain will dominate the weather. If we chose to only go out on nice days we would limit our chances for getting any photos let alone something to be proud of. In addition to increasing our odds at getting great photos "bad" weather just makes for great photos. 

The light is usually nice and even. I use rain to polarize foliage to allow color to come through. The creeks and waterfalls are full of water. Misty skies make for etherial images. Cloudy skies can be dramatic. Crowds are smaller. I have a lot of reasons that I like to go out on a bad day. 

Bad weather shooting requires preparation. Dress for the weather. Buy good rain gear and shoes. Prepare your gear by having a rain cover and several microfiber cloths and lens cloths. Even a good terry cloth bath towel in the rig will be welcome when you return and want to dry off. 

I also choose my battles. There are times when the weather is just too bad. I like to go out just after a rain the best but don't mind a mist or a light rain. 

This photo was made in early Spring. Drifts of snow and fallen trees kept most from making it to the falls. I wanted to get in and photograph the falls under high water conditions. I was well rewarded on that morning. The whole curtain of water on the right side isn't typically flowing. It would fade away soon after as the water level receded to a more normal flow. 

This was a difficult shot mostly due to the large amount of spray. Although it wasn't raining when I took this shot the mist created the same dilemma. I took a whole series wiping the lens between shots. My method was to take my camera and set up. Set my focus and my comp and then wipe the lens and cover it with a cloth. I would wait until I could perceive a slack in the wind coming at me from the falls and then I would pull the cloth away, snap the photo, then cover the lens again. I repeated this until I had a nice clean image with no water drops. This was the cleanest of the set. 

Processing was pretty straight forward using Lightroom for basic adjustments and finishing in Photoshop. It's a single exposure with contrast adjustments, some dodging in bright light above the falls and a very slight Orton layer applied and then sharpened. 

1/2" sec exp
100 ISO 
D810 - 20mm D f/2.8
Circular Polarizer

Go play in the rain. 🙂 

 GAR7169 2

Edited: 1 year  ago
Posted : September 9, 2017 01:42 Jon glaser, Mark Metternich and Erin Babnik liked

Well said!!! After all those trouble, you came home with this beautiful photo. It's all worth it, well done!

Posted : September 9, 2017 22:31 Gary Randall liked

Thank you Joseph. 🙂 

Posted : September 10, 2017 19:33

Agreed.  Umbrella and lots of lens wipes!  Killer shot too.

BTW Gary, sorry about your Gorge. It is all of ours, but you and TJ and a bunch of others really came to mind when I saw the news.  I was out in the remote and could not respond. Now I am dealing with hurricane displacement, so sorry if my communications are sketchy... 

Posted : September 12, 2017 14:56

Hello Mark. It's great to hear from you. 

It slipped my mind that you were down there now. I hope that everything is recoverable for you. If it isn't floods it's fires. 

The gorge hit TJ and I both pretty hard. When you spend so much time at a place like that you gain an emotional connection to it. 

Take good care. Be safe. 

Posted : September 12, 2017 22:56

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