Autumn Rain

Japanese Maples on Rainy Autumn Day

Rainy days in the garden can yield intensely rich and saturated colors. Last Friday I went up to VanDusen Garden in Vancouver, BC, which is one of my favorite public gardens. After a lengthy strike which closed the garden (as well as libraries and halting garbage service) for 12 weeks, the garden was once again open. The weather forecast for the day was mixed and I hesitated about going out. But I checked the weather radar and it looked like the biggest part of the rainstorm had already moved through.

Soon after I arrived in the garden it started to rain, so I pulled out a plastic rain cover for my camera and continued working. Some of the fall foliage was past its prime, but there was enough lingering to make it worth my time to explore and photograph.

The photo above was made during a break in the rain, but under heavily overcast skies. It’s one of my favorite Japanese maples in a grove along the shore of one of the ponds in the park. I’ve photographed it many times, in most seasons, and under many weather conditions.

Working in the rain is certainly more challenging than photographing in “better” weather. Keeping the camera dry is the big issue. An umbrella works, but can be hard to hold while setting up the shot. I’ve used a cheap plastic grocery bag, but inevitably the camera still gets wet. Currently I use inexpensive rain covers from Optechs. My camera still gets a little damp, and changing lenses is slightly inconvenient, but overall this clear plastic cover works pretty well. I hang it up on a doorknob to dry when I get home.

Besides keeping the camera dry, another issue in the rain is low light levels and moving subjects. Raindrops make plants shake, and rain is often accompanied by wind. Like any windy situation, there’s often a brief pause between puffs of wind so I set up and wait. I think the results are worthwhile.

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