Capturing architecture in rains 

Rainy times may usher in some gloom and boredom especially for photography buffs who fear for damage to their camera. On the contrary, pretty, prancing rains can provide the perfect opportunity to capture the uncaptured, to present a different view of the done and dusted.

Create drama: All the accessories of rain i.e. the clouds, the grey skies and the mists can be used to create great visual drama. Many a residence has been sold on the premise of providing a “walk in the clouds”, kind of dreamy feeling. The same can be achieved, with the right angle, the building in the foreground, and a wide background that showcases the vicinity. In general, shooting on grey backdrops demands a higher ISO level.

• Look for an apt subject to create a story: Often, buildings by themselves may look dull and drab in the dreary rainy days. The greys and whites may shout for some vibrant cheer. A photograph may leave the viewer in want of more meaning to the picture. Especially when clicking pathways such as bridges, a story can be very nicely woven into the picture. Look for an apt picture to not only add colour but to add more meaning. For example, this picture focuses on the bridge but adds an iota of intrigue by adding the umbrella.

• Capture the indoors: Just because it is raining, it does not mean you pack up your camera to protect it from the moisture. Indoor architectural elements provide much opportunity to experiment with different levels of light, especially low light. In fact, warm and cosy indoor setups and artefacts can be paid special attention to when it’s pouring outside. There is also a special scope to create abstract images out of architecture, by focussing on specific parts of the architecture. You may need to bump up your camera ISO to prevent camera shake.

• Capture reflections: You need not tread the path that’s beaten to death and capture buildings upright. In fact, the rains present a great opportunity to capture architectural marvels in reflections— in ponds, streams and even puddles on the street. Try to get a significantly large water body to capture the enormity of the structure, or focus on getting one detail into a highlight. Similarly, reflections of doors and windows look beautiful when seen in slick-wet pathways. If you want the ripples to show, opt for a slow shutter speed, else get crystal clear images with a fast shutter speed.

• Focus on the natural: While made-up buildings and walkways may become duller with the rains, those pretty droplets seem to have the opposite effect on natural elements like lawns, plants, window gardens etc. Rainy season is the time to make the most of this dose of lush green, and add a dash of cheer. Landscape architecture photography has much scope during the rains, so look for the gifts of nature, and try to include them in your landscape photographs.

• Look for lightning: Rain is not just rain but presents a whole lot of natural elements, lightning being a very powerful one. While lightning may seem as the perfect reason to pack your camera to avoid exposure to the elements, it is an opportunity in disguise. Imposing buildings with historical importance may be attributed more meaning by capturing against dark skies and bolts of lightning. Make sure the main subject is illuminated, to be able to capture the details. Lightning is best captured using a tripod and a slow shutter speed, somewhere between 3 to 30 seconds

• Add details with droplets: A great way to capture the intricacies of architectural murals and carve-outs is to look for those that are drenched in droplets. Then make creative use of angles to capture the “freshness” of the architectural specimen. For example, a metal curve with a droplet about to fall is a unique way to express architectural excellence. A macro lens such as a 50 mm or a 100 mm can come handy to do justice to the details.

• Use different perspectives, highlight the rain: You may want to view the architectural subject from a unique perspective, with the rain in the foreground, and the building or façade in the backdrop. You need not always shoot in the open, a shot of a gorgeous London bridge from the confines of your car can create wonders. Imagine a couple of droplets dancing on the window pane and the imposing bridge as the backdrop. It kind of brings on a romantic rainy mood for a walk in the rains through the London streets! You would ideally not want the background to blur out totally, for this you must use a wider depth of field i.e. a smaller aperture (higher f-number) to keep everything in partial focus.

Rain adds a dash of liveliness to everything, including the inanimate. It is a great time to think of producing different images and experiment with various modes and light conditions to become adept at your camera skills. So why wait, go out, get drenched and get shutter-happy. Just don’t get your camera to have a rain rendezvous too!

 About the author:

Rhucha Kulkarni is an entrepreneur, a wildlife lover, a photographer, a traveller and a writer. She loves juggling different hats and currently leads jungLEADz, her wildlife travel venture.

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