20 July 2011

Who says rain stops play..?

Heavy rain is usually my cue to get some more work done in the office - it's useless for pictures... right..? Well, not always. Wildlife photography is as much about capturing the surrounding atmosphere as it is about recording the actual subject. This afternoon was a perfect example - as I drove along the winding upland track near Grinton looking for red grouse. Some of the downpours were just torrential, and within minutues there were large puddles and temporary streams cascading across the road. No good for wildlife you might think. I've often thought just that - but today was different. I decided to photograph in the rain, to create more atmospheric shots... and to produce something different from the norm. Not only did the rain record beautifully, but the quality of the deeply subdued light gave wonderfully rich colours and superb detail. And on top of that - it was rather fun too...!

 I needed to be prepared to shoot in such soggy conditions and used my own waterproof cover for the camera and lens. This allowed me to shoot in extremely heavy rain from the car. At first I shot on ISO 250, then after securing some shots switched to ISO 100. Shutter speeds were ranging from 1/80 to 1/30 and in all cases the rain was recording as streaks... just the way I wanted. The majority of the grouse were young birds, and all were capable of fending for themselves. Pitty no other birds stuck around, but I just don't think they were able to tough it out like them grouse..!
Note that if you come on one of my Upland Birds Photography Courses and the weather looks atrocious - all is not lost..!!

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