5 hacks for travel photography that pops: Part 3
Pour cold water on it
Hack #3: Pour cold water on it
When the atmospheric sponges squeeze, for most people, it's an inconvenience. Farmers slap their thighs no doubt, but for those of us getting around a city on foot it can put a dampener on, erm, us. And people often assume you need a sunny day to take compelling photographs, so all too often the cue goes straight back in the rack.
Don't do it.
While you might not be able to find the same dramatic contrast for your images as on sunny days (see Hack #1), rainy days are great because of a few special phenomena.
Related story: 5 hacks for travel photography that pops: Part 2
Firstly, and most importantly, the light becomes diffuse (unless you're getting sun-shower-sun-shower, which is a whole different scenario). It means the sky becomes a bit glary, so try framing it out as much as you can. Once you've avoided that pitfall, you'll find that actually, rainy days are great for bringing out beautiful colour tones.
This is just as true for paint on a wall as for a piece of clothing or a person's face (trust, soft light + skin = ooohh).
Secondly, when things are wet, they glisten, gleam and shine back at you all kinds of colours, reflections and refractions. This usually looks good, great even (and now you know why they hose down film sets in Hollywood).
Related story: 5 hacks for travel photography that pops: Part 1
I took the photographs illustrating Hack #3 while road-testing the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. And yes, myself and the camera got wet, very wet (hint, a rain jacket is good, a rain jacket + rain pants is much, much better). So it's handy to know that the camera body and the lens I was using (M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm F2.8 Pro) are fully splash proof.
Finally, the rain brings out two amazing things in people that I love: umbrellas, and a little bit of crazy. The former are a lot of fun for obvious reasons, the latter occurs because people become hurried and distracted. If you are intimidated by photographing people in public, this means you'll find far greater social license to shoot than normal.
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Bottom line: wet surfaces shine beautifully. Clouds make soft light which is great for colours. Rain pants, can't stress them enough. Oh and droplets, have some fun with a macro lens, I used the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm F2.8 Pro.
Cam Cope was awarded Travel Photographer of the Year 2014 by the Australian Society of Travel Writers, and teaches short courses in Contemporary Travel Photography at RMIT University in Melbourne.
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