Beat the Drizzle: 8 Tips for Taking Pics in the Rain

Silverton Falls on a Rainy Day.

Rockies dwellers are hoping for a dry, warm summer. But, although Environment Canada has forecasted plenty of sunshine for the mountains, chances are we will get our fair share of the wet stuff again this year. Rain equals poor opportunities in the mind of many photographers. Yet, it offers great potential if one has the right attitude and a little creativity. Here are a few tips that will help you make the most of whatever fickle weather comes our way this summer.

1. Go Waterproof. Nothing blurs images like a photographer shaking from hypothermia. Put those rubber boots and two dollar poncho to use.

2. Beat the Rain. Approaching rain clouds add a lot of drama to a scene. Use a long exposure to capture cloud motion.

3. Shoot Waterfalls. Overcast days even out the light and allow for longer exposures, making for great waterfall shooting opportunities. Head over to Johnston Canyon or Silverton Falls on the Bow Valley Parkway, or make a day of it and visit Panther Falls, Tangle Falls and the Weeping Wall along the Icefields Parkway.

Post-Rain Magic Over Mt. Inglismaldie.

4. Go Abstract. Rainy days are not usually great for those iconic Rockies shots. Get in creative mode and play with shapes, look for textures and pay attention to the details of the landscape.

Mt. Rundle After a Passing Storm.

5. Think Black and White. Your scene may be close to monochrome anyways, so it is worth considering converting your image to black and white, either in camera or during the editing process.

6. Capture the Aftermath. Unique conditions may occur following a downpour, but they are short-lived. Get out and shoot the reflections, rainbows, glistening drops and the peaks emerging from the clouds.

7. Protect Your Gear. Not all cameras and lenses are watertight. Consider bringing an umbrella or a homemade camera cover (Ziploc bag) to protect your gear. Also, keep silica gel (you can use the little packs that come in the bottom of a box of new shoes) in your camera bag to absorb humidity and be sure to use your lens hood.

8. Stop the Rain! Adjust your shutter speed to 1/320 of a second or faster to “freeze” the falling rain drops in your shot.

Paul Zizka

Paul Zizka is a professional mountain landscape and adventure photographer based in Banff, Alberta. Specializing in photographing in difficult conditions and hard-to-reach places, Paul has a passion for shooting alpine sports and backcountry experiences, capturing the spirit of adventurers and finding unusual angles of common mountain subjects.

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