Too much rain. Makes working outside a dilemma for Austin photographers.

Shooting the windshield of my car. 

It feels like it's been raining for weeks on end here in Austin. That's because it has been raining almost every day for the last three weeks! Hey, if I had wanted to enjoy Seattle weather I would have moved there. I guess I shouldn't complain too much, it certainly is better than the drought we'd been having for the past few years. I guess the primary things that have changed for me have to do with protecting cameras from water damage. I have rain covers for the cameras I use for video but I just grab a one gallon, ZipLoc bag on my way out of the house when there are glowering clouds outside and Accuweather.com tells me, in their hourly forecast, that I'm due to get soaked at 2 pm if I'm out for a walk. At least it's seventy five to eighty degrees outside so I won't become a quick victim of hypothermia...

It's a whole different situation for my friends who make their living photographing architecture; those folks are screaming for a few of those days with bright blue, Texas skies. I think they've shot every interior they can possibly find and are just counting down the minutes till the sun peeks through again and makes so much commercial and residential real estate look like something more than a soggy pile of construction material. 

I've been appreciative of the gloomy weather, personally. I'm trying to make a video about our historic floods last year and I need a lot of "B" roll of thunder and lightning, drenched streets, overflowing drainage ditches and mighty damns with their flood gates open. On a good morning I've been putting on my waterproof boots and my heavy duty poncho, wrapping my cameras in their rain covers and heading out to see what I can find in low water crossings, and at the places in Austin and surrounding towns where I know from experience that flooding happens. Like anything else shooting in the rain takes practice. It's kind of important to keep the water drops off the front element of your lens but at the same time it's important to get those angles that seem to be conducive to rain drop splatter. 

One of my big conundrums, when the rain is really slamming down is this: Do I take off the poncho before I jump into the car in order to keep water off the seats, but get my clothes wet in the process, or, do I keep the poncho on as I go from location to location and pray that someday it will be sunny enough to dry out the seat's upholstery before I start a commercial mushroom farm in my car? 

So far I've voted to keep the poncho on. It just saves time. And when I stop for lunch at decent restaurants I don't end up looking like a half-drowned river rat. 

The only things I really fear are drivers whose vehicles are out of control, skidding and aiming straight for me; and lightning. I don't think the poncho will stop a million volt lightning bolt and I'm pretty sure even a kevlar poncho won't stop a car hydroplaning its way into my personal space. I rarely worry about the cameras. The Sony advertising infers that the units I have been buying are "weather resistant" but I'm almost positive that they'll find a warranty workaround for just about any camera I might send them with wet stuff inside. I look at under $2,000 cameras as expendable if you are using them to make real money. If we lose one on the job I'm pretty sure that we'll have covered the cost somewhere in our bid or estimate. 

Last week my RX10mkiii got pretty wet on multiple occasions but seems to be working fine. I tried to always wipe off the water drops on the extended lens barrel before turning off the camera and I did put tape over the various doors. I even kept the flash shoe protector on. Those precautions, and a plastic cover that does a decent job covering the entire camera, exposing only the EVF window and the front of the lens, seemed pretty effective. The times I got water on the camera were when I got too anxious to shoot and ripped the cover off to get to the controls. 

Funny, I am used to shooting in vicious heat but have much less experience doing my work in the middle of rain storms. The last time I really worked for days in the snow was in February of 1995, in Pushkin, Russia; and I remember that as being very challenging as well. I guess you acclimate to your local environment. Interesting that mine is changing so quickly......


scott said...

Seattle gets lots and lots of days with drizzle, but rarely real rain. That's why its annual accumulation is so low, despite having a very high number of days with precipitation.

Wolfgang Lonien said...

Reminded me of a song...

Who is the gaucho amigo
Why is he standing
In your spangled leather poncho
And your elevator shoes

Same here with the rain, and I think it's pretty cool as well. But that's ok, the forecast for tomorrow is better, and in the long run we might have tropical rainforest here ;-)

steveH said...

The advertising implies one thing or another. The reader infers something or other from (possibly completely unrelated to) seeing the advertisement.

Sorry, recovering tech writer/editor here.

Gene Trent said...

Thanks Steve, I was going to say the same thing. Sitting here in Seattle with a beautiful 75 degree day, not a cloud in the sky watching the TX storms in the TV glad I'm in Seattle. lol.