April Showers – Wet Weather Shooting Tips

cloud burst
Busted! I got caught at the park during a cloudburst without a rain sleeve. Lucky this wasn't a paying job.

April showers may bring May flowers, but they will inevitably also produce a peculiar crop of photographers who sprint toward their cars, hunched over like Quasimoto, trying to protect their expensive new camera from a sudden cloudburst. Don’t let that be you, especially when it’s so inexpensive to avoid.

If you’re a photojournalist or a sports photographer, there will be times you have to shoot in the rain and there will definitely be times you have to wait in the rain. Trying to dash to the car and wait it out means risking losing the shot. Because I can guarantee the subject you’re trying to photograph will step outside and dash to their car the microsecond the rain lets up. The two types of “PJs” are those that wait in the rain and get the shot and those that run to their car and miss it.

Rain protection for your camera is not optional anyway. Many times the best shots are far away from shelter and with quality rain protection so inexpensive, it’s silly not to pack it along.

Rain Sleeves

The most basic camera protection is the basic rain sleeve. There are two types: With room for a flash and not fitted for a flash. These are less than $10 and, while you may get wet, your camera will stay covered.

For a little more heavy duty coverage, you can look at one like this Opteka which is compatible with a tripod or monopod. One note of caution with this type of cover can make it hard to see through the eye level viewfinder if your camera does not have live view.

Over the years I’ve found the cheap ones are just fine, unless you live in Seattle, in which case get the really expensive one.

You can also toss a disposable poncho in your camera bag. While you can’t shoot with these, it will keep your gear dry until you get back to the car.

For me I’ll sacrifice some room in my bag for a decent, full-size poncho. Make sure you get one big enough to cover whatever you’re sitting on, so you don’t have a wet chair.

Experience in the field has taught me to get a poncho big enough to sleep under in a pinch.

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