Art of Photography

Rob Townsend

Exercise – Cloudy weather and rain, parts 2 and 3

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This exercise is in three parts; however, due to the lack of appropriate conditions for Part 1, I have posted my results for parts 2 and 3 here, and will post Part 1 when I get the right weather conditions.

  • Part 1: take photographs of the same view in sunlight and under cloud, using 2-3 different subjects [to be posted separately]
  • Part 2: take three photographs on an overcast day that make good use of the enveloping,
  • shadowless light, choosing subjects with strong colour and/or surface texture
  • Part 3: take at least two images in the rain


Part 2: overcast

The texture of the surface comes over well in this image, without any distracting reflections or harsh shadows.

Lamp post

Lamp post

Again the subtleties of the texture are evident here, and the lack of direct sunlight means no deep, harsh shadows or risk of the white bleaching out completely.



As well as the texture being discernible here, the colours are nice and strong too.



Part 2: rain

I found shooting the rain very difficult! Unless it’s raining on or against something, it’s difficult to make it stand out. For this first shot I took advantage of a puddle capturing the drops coming down, using a fast enough shutter speed to catch the drops bouncing back up again.



For this slightly more stylised image I pointed the camera downwards from an upstairs window, shooting through a Christmas decoration above the street. The street lights illuminated the streaks of rain, evident against the black of the canopy and the wet street below. The sleek, reflective surface of the wet ground is an aesthetically interesting aspect of rain photography.



For this last shot I chose to go close-up on the after-effects rather than the rain as it was falling, as my eyes were drawn to the droplets forming under the rail.



What I’ve learned:

Having always assumed that you need a sunny day for good photographs – and in recent years realising that direct overhead midday sun is usually too harsh, and early/late sun is much more interesting – this exercise helped to further open my mind to the possibilities of differing light conditions. Once you become aware of it, the extent to which the overcast sky acts as a giant diffuser and evens out the light source can be very noticeable, and a useful natural lighting ‘tool’.

With regards to shooting in the rain – I confess this was the first time I’ve really tried it. Like most people, I don’t care much for getting wet when I could be staying dry! … and I suppose I do worry about getting the equipment wet too. So it got me out of my comfort zone in a literal sense. But I did find the exercise interesting; challenging too – which isn’t a bad thing at all. I don’t think I got fantastic images in the rain, but it has made me more aware of the possibilities now.


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