Go Play in the Rain
Shooting under an overcast sky is like using God’s softbox — all of the harsh shadows are tamed, and everything takes on an almost magical glow, as beautiful soft light descends on everything from the heavens.
Despite the threat of rain, I took a relaxing walk at Descanso Gardens a few weeks ago. This wonderful botanical garden is only a short drive from my home, and the start of spring has brought out all of the blooms on every flowering plant on the premises.
I brought a few of my cameras and lenses with me, but decided to leave all but one camera and lens combo in the car. Instead, I just brought my trusty Olympus E-3 with me, with my all-time favorite lens bolted to the front: the 35-100mm f/2.0 zoom.
It’s an admittedly bulky combo, and certainly not the latest most-fashionable thing, but it’s all fully weather-sealed, and it does something else absolutely critical for me: it gets out of my way, and lets me concentrate on making the photo that I see in my mind. Long familiarity and experience with this camera means that I can find every control right under my fingertips without having to look for it, and it becomes just an extension of my arms, to be directed by will, rather than conscious thought.
It works for me.
In any case, this isn’t about the equipment. It’s about the light, and the experience.
Find a camera that works for you, that you can use without over-thinking. Hopefully, it’s weather-sealed. If not, get yourself one of those plastic camera condoms to protect it. Then, the next time you have a rainy day free, take your camera and go exploring. You’ll love the light, and you’ll love the freedom. Don’t over-think. Just see the world with a photographer’s eyes, and follow your muse.
It’s a worthwhile exercise, and I guarantee you’ll enjoy the experience. You’ll certainly love the photos you make when you follow your instincts, and make pictures to please yourself, rather than someone else.