Article Updated April 2012.
It's well known that the Brits like to talk - moan! - about the weather! But even if it's a little bit soggy outside this shouldn't dampen your spirits and stop you from enjoying your hobby. There are plenty of opportunities to capture images of rain and the good news is that some you don't even have to get wet for.
Photo by Peter Bargh.
A good macro lens will help you capture raindrops on the window.
If you're feeling brave and plan on venturing outdoors remember water and electronics don't mix so protect your equipment. A waterproof raincover will keep your equipment dry but make sure it fits correctly so you can access your controls. Keep your memory cards and spare batteries locked away in a waterproof bag / case too. Having said that, some memory cards such as those available in Samsung's Plus/Extreme cards
, for example, are waterproof.
If any spots of rain do get on the lens wipe them off - unless you want smudgy, dreamy images. Having an ultraviolet or skylight filters on the lens makes this much easier and you don't have to be so gentle.
Make sure you're dressed appropriately too. Although a brolly is not so practical unless you have someone to hold it over you while you shoot.
At Home Indoors
If you're sat inside your house, watching the rain beat down onto the windows get up and take a closer look at it, You'll see it leaves tiny water droplets, each projecting an upside down view of the outside world and when these droplets are combined, they create fascinating patterns.
If you have a close-up lens to hand you can move in close and fill your frame with these unusual shapes. For added impact use a macro lens and crop in even closer once you have your images on your computer.
Don't just stick to one window either. If you move to a window that looks onto the garden where you have a green hedge, brown fence or even a shed, the water droplets will take on those colours and patterns creating even more interesting shapes. You could even place coloured card behind the droplets or set particular items outside to use as a background. Taking the image in the evening will mean you have a black background but the water droplets will shine because of the indoor lights.
Because depth-of-field so narrow and the slightest shift in camera position can drastically change the composition, using a tripod is a good idea for consistency. It will be more comfortable and avoid any risk of camera shake too.
In Your Garden
Once the rain's stopped falling rain droplets can still be found on plants. Gardens and window boxes will house plants with glistening, saturated leaves covered in jewel-like drops that produce vibrant images. Watch the droplets and with your macro lens in hand be ready to press the shutter button as it drops off the end of a leaf. Have the background out of focus so all the attention is focused on the water droplet.
Tree trunks tend to be darker on the side which is wet and hit by rain and lighter on the other and this can give you a compositionally interesting image.
If you don't mind getting a little wet head out while the rain is still bouncing down to capture some long streaks with a slow shutter speed. The slower the shutter speed the longer the streaks will be. This technique works particularly well on dogs or other animals who are shaking the rain off them. A fast shutter speed will freeze the rain and can make it disappear (sadly not from the skies!). This can work well when you have something in the scene which shows it's raining for example, a group of wet animals or droplets falling onto pools of water.