Two people stay dry under an umbrella while crossing Main Street at San Joaquin Street in downtown Stockton (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/4. ISO: 400).
There’s an old adage in photography: “f/8 and be there.” It’s sort of the photographic equivalent of the Boy Scout motto: “Be prepared.” The f/8 refers to an aperture opening and metaphorically being technically ready for the shot. The “be there” part means that you have to show up for the photo. There are some jobs that can be done over the phone or via computer, but in photography, there’s no substitute for being there.
A Stockton firefighter uses a chainsaw in an attempt to clear the street of a tree that fell across and blocked Gettysburg Place near Swain Road in Stockton (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/160th sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 500).
With a few exceptions, the rule for getting a rain picture is that you can’t get a decent shot without getting wet. For the most part, this is true with nearly all weather-related photos. You have to get out in it to get a good picture. This isn’t to say that I wouldn’t rather be snuggled up next to a roaring fireplace on a stormy day or that I wouldn’t rather shoot on a sunny day, but when it comes to getting a rain shot, one has to get wet.
Shanice Jordan of Stockton tires to keep dry under her umbrella while waiting for a bus on Pacific Avenue near Yokuts Avenue in Stockton (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 19mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/7.1 w/ fill-flash. ISO: 400).
I usually venture out with a sturdy rain coat (I got a new one for Christmas) and kind of a dorky looking rain hat with a wide brim. It’s a bit geeky but it keeps me pretty dry. There are some products that are designed to keep cameras and lenses dry, but I have found they’re a bit cumbersome, so I’m usually resigned to the fact that my equipment is going to get wet. I try to keep my camera in my bag or under my coat until it’s needed. In general digital cameras tend to be better sealed than their film counterparts simply because there are fewer places for water to seep in.
A raindrop clings to tree branches at Louis Park in Stockton (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 55mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/5.6. ISO: 200).
The rain in combination with strong winds, as we’ve recently experienced, are the worst conditions. During these last storms, I’ve had rain be blown straight into my ear beneath the brim of my had. It was like an ice cold wet willy.
University of the Pacific groundskeeper Stan Wallace braves the rain to prune Bradford pear trees on the UOP campus in Stockton (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 26mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/5.6. ISO: 200).
The hardest part is trying to find someone out and about during the rain. Most people, unlike me, tend to stay indoors under such conditions, venturing out only when they absolutely have to. Still, there are a few people who can be found, maybe someone catching a bus or maybe a person whose job is to be outside, but it’s just a lot harder than on a sunny day.
Weather is something that affects people on a daily basis, so it’s a staple of the news business. So whether it’s a a bright, sunny day or dark, stormy night, it’s always f/8 and be there.