Friday, October 11, 2013

The photographic attractions of rain

click photo to enlarge
The other evening we were in the Lincolnshire town of Louth. Unusually I wasn't there with photography in mind. However, I was carrying my pocket camera. As we walked up Eastgate, dodging the showers and occasionally pausing in closed shop doorways as the downpours intensified, I admired the reflections of the car headlights on the wet road, the glow from the street lamps and the brightness of the windows that were still lit. Those features, together with the light that remained in the cloudy sky, suggested a photograph and so I took several quick shots. This is the best of the bunch with its balanced composition achieved by the road and buildings leading from the main point of interest, the prominent car on the right, to the secondary point of interest,the church spire on the left.

As we continued to the business that brought us to the town I reflected on how something as unpromising, and often unwelcome and unpleasant, as rain can change a scene so that it becomes a much better subject for a photograph. It's essentially those reflections on the wet surfaces of the roads and pavements that effect the transformation, multiplying the highlights against the dark background. It reminds me of the way the sea or any stretch of water magnifies the power of a sunset.

Over the years I've found rain both a fruitful subject in itself and a great enhancer of a subject. Raindrops on the window pane can make a fascinating subject when paired with good light and an interesting background. So too can raindrops on leaves or flowers. And familiar subjects can be transformed when bright sunlight and fair weather is eschewed in favour of a downpour, even if you are sheltering under an umbrella at the time.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Sony RX100
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 24.1mm (65mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f4
Shutter Speed: 1/80
ISO: 1600
Exposure Compensation:  -1.0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On