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Thread: Shooting in the rain

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Johnson City, TN
    Posts
    255

    Shooting in the rain

    Title says it all! Iím on a trip shooting 4x5 this weekend and it looks like Iím gonna get rained out tomorrow and potentially Sunday. Does anyone have tips for shooting in the rain? I had a couple ideas, first was to set up the tripod in the backseat and shoot thru the window. Other was wrap bellows in plastic bags and try to use a combo of umbrella to shoot. Any tips are appreciated!


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  2. #2
    Peter
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Morro Bay, Ca
    Posts
    719

    Re: Shooting in the rain

    I haven't tried this myself, but it could work. You might have to keep your film and other accessories in the car nearby since the space is limited. Since you won't have time to order it from Amazon before the weekend, Walmart and REI carry similar tents. Very quick pop-up design.
    https://www.amazon.com/portable-chan...+changing+tent

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Posts
    329

    Re: Shooting in the rain

    heavy rain, I wouldn't even try--LF takes time to setup, and I'd hate to do that in the rain unless you have a foolproof way to keep it dry. A very light rain, I might be willing to set everything up under an awning, wrap it with a water resistant dark cloth so you can walk the camera and tripod to the location, then frame and focus and shoot with the darkcloth keeping most of the water off the camera. The Harrison dark cloths may work for that. The silver side looks like it could be water resistant. The other option is just to plan for cover. Some older SUVs have rear hatchs that when opened, create a roof that extends ~3ft from the car. The location might have places you could setup. A portable cover like Peter links to may also work, if its easy to setup and tear down.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Collinsville, CT USA
    Posts
    2,039

    Re: Shooting in the rain

    From about 2000 to 2010 I drove a 1991 Vanagon Carat, the Weekender model which was 50% converted to a Westfalia camper. In the pouring rain I could open the sliding side door and shoot my with 11x14 from inside the Vanagon while at the same time brewing up a hot cup of coffee. Almost all the time using the camera up next to the ceiling and with my longest lens, at the time, gave me the best point of view. Had to be careful though because the 1991 was nothing like my 1971 weekender which was amazingly good off road here in New England. The much heavier and with less ground clearance 1991 was more of a road vehicle.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Posts
    9,373

    Re: Shooting in the rain

    A black shower curtain liner will work for a waterproof dark cloth in overcast light.
    It's large enough to cover the bellows, and won't mildew afterwards when hurriedly packed away wet.
    A half pint of Brandy will ward off any chills.
    "I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for men if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority"---EB White

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    664

    Re: Shooting in the rain

    Heavy duty large black garbage bags are great for covering equipment even in hard rain. I would recommend a large enough but relatively lightweight umbrella that you can find a way to attach to the tripod. Once you set up at location, extend the umbrella to keep rain off the camera. You can fold up the garbage bag to continue covering the bellows and the lens.

    Rain reduces contrast and improves color saturation. I won’t go out in rain if there is even a slight wind as obtaining sharp images of fragile subjects becomes useless task. You also might use a polarizer in rain to reduce reflections on rain drenched subjects.

  7. #7
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
    Posts
    16,656

    Re: Shooting in the rain

    Large black Gortex darkcloth, velcro attached to the front end of the compendium shade.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Johnson City, TN
    Posts
    255

    Re: Shooting in the rain

    Thanks for the tips everyone. When I'm on my LF trips I have the camera pre set up in the backseat because I'm shooting with it all day, and when I stop to make an exposure I just pop it on the tripod lol. Been checking the weather reports obsessively, will wait to see what happens. Thankfully I'm close to Walmarts in case I need anything. You guys ever used a pop up canopy/easy up ?

  9. #9

    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    SooooCal/LA USA
    Posts
    2,579

    Re: Shooting in the rain

    Keeping camera + operator dry is a solvable step, but there is a bigger issue for sheet film shooting... When the film is exposed to the damp environment, it absorbs the moisture unevenly and can buckle slightly in the holder until it reaches equilibrium with outside humidity and finally settles back to flat... Putting film holder in camera about 10 minutes before shot, pulling then replacing slide and letting it sit allows film to settle back to flat before exposure...

    Some larger/smaller format films and types are under some tension when damp, and acclimate differently, and can have OOF spots until film settles...

    I have best film flatness in the rain (or extreme humidity) with 35mm film, but have had "surprises" with 120 or sheet films when processed...

    Steve K

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    North Dakota
    Posts
    1,173

    Re: Shooting in the rain

    Rain isn't generally difficult. Umbrellas to plastic covers to pop up tents - like those for ice fishing.
    WIND is usually the culprit that makes it difficult.
    If you use an umbrella don't use a clamp to attach it to the tripod or camera - the vibration will usually wreck your photos and gusts can topple the gear.
    "My forumla for successful printing remains ordinary chemicals, an ordinary enlarger, music, a bottle of scotch - and stubbornness." W. Eugene Smith

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