This article discusses tips for shooting against the rain – or waterfall spray – both are common issues when you are shooting in Iceland.

1) Do nothing. The droplets on your lens become part of the image and tell the story of what the conditions were truly like. This is not a popular option and I admit it works better with movies than still images.

2) Do nothing, just sit back and let the water accumulate on your lens. For this option, you need a waterproof lens and I would suggest a filter such as ND or UV to take the impact of the wetness. I think this works best in extremely wet conditions.

3) Magic cloth – as previously discussed, the Magic Cloth can be used to wipe the filter while you are shooting. Bear in mind that the wiping will generate small vibrations even with the sturdiest tripod. Also the Magic Cloth never really clears the rain from the filter, it just moves it around, but the result is quite satisfactory.

4) Wipe and hope. This option means that you or your assistant wipes the lens dry before you take the shot.

My personal favourite is option 4) Wipe and hope. It requires a bit of preparation. You will need a lens cloth and some paper towel. If you use a filter, it is best to start with the filter on, you may want to take it off after a couple of shots to get a few more shots. There will be a point when shooting is futile, the key is maximizing the shots you do take.

Procedure
Prepare your camera and lens for waterproofing, i.e. waterproof bags. Prepare some paper towels (not tissues) and a good optical cloth. Keep the lens cloth somewhere dry, like your pocket, you need to protect this more than the camera. Set up your camera in the wet spot and try to adjust your settings and rough composition with the lens cap still on. When you take the lens cap off, you should be ready to fine-tune your composition and focus. Use the 2 second timer. Soak most of the water from your filter with the paper towel… Press the shutter and in the 2 second delay wipe the filter dry with the lens cloth. Replace the lens cap as soon as the shutter closes.

As you can appreciate this requires some coordination and is quite fiddly, also the 2 second timing might take some practice. This is where an assistant comes in handy.

A nice compromise would be a combination of the Magic Cloth and the Wipe and hope techniques.

Gullfoss
Gullfoss with the Magic cloth – you can see that the detail has really suffered, but some nice detail remains.

Anyone got any ideas?

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