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Photographing rain and animal with same technique

by Ana Tatu
Ana Tatu
August 6, 2014

Today we talk about rain.
How and when can we shoot rain to be able to capture all those beautiful round drops on their falling to the ground? Well it’s pretty easy. All you have to do is acquire balance between shutter speed and ISO.

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This photograph was shot with a shutter speed of 1/1250 and ISO 800. The lens I used was a fixed 50mm and a maximum aperture f 1.8 that makes for a shallow depth of field so we can have a nice blur of the house in the back. The lower you set your ISO, the more light you get so then you can also decrease the number of your shutter speed too.
For example, you get a whole lot of light from an ISO of 1600 so then you can leave your shutter speed around 1/1000 and probably still get a good shot, but beware of the noise. Lowering your ISO will give a film texture so be careful with that. The idea is to decrease your ISO only as much as you need to decrease the shutter speed so that you get nice definite round rain drops, because if you shoot rain with at 1/500, ISO 200 you may not capture it clearly, but have blurry rain drops. Experiment, switch, play !
However, you must consider your lens too.; prime lenses with large apertures like 1.8 and 1.4 or even 1.2 if you afford it, will be able to capture beautiful rain photos, better than zoom lenses that get you darker underexposed shots. Don’t forget to always cover your camera, do not get your equipment wet because there are electronic circuits that may fail to work and you don’t want that. Protection before anything else, keep your eyes on the camera and then on your subjects. You can capture people on the street walking in the rain using the exact same settings. Now let it rain, you’re ready to shoot !
If you know how to shoot rain correctly, the good news is you know how to shoot animals too.
Whether you have a cat or maybe your friends have dogs, either you travel a lot, or go on your summer holiday and there’s wildlife all around. With the proper adjusting of the shutter speed and ISO, you can capture animal movement, because that’s what they do, they move a lot and you know now how to freeze a specific moment inside your camera.

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But you see, the secret here is to get at their level from a spatial perspective. That makes the viewer of the photograph feel as if he or she is there, in the moment. This builds all the magic. You see your cat stretching on a pillow, get down, close to her furry face, and capture her as if you were a cat too.
Snapshots from your standing height are boring. Really. Nobody wants to see what they can usually see whenever they walk past an animal. They want to see something more. They want to see what life feels like at a height of twenty centimeters not over a meter and half, because they know that already. Give them something they don’t know. Give them something they don’t usually see.
You know all those pretty picture perfect advertisements for dog food when they run happy in the grass? You feel like you’re right there and they’re going to jump on you and lick you on your face. A close-up of a happy dog, that is the secret ingredient and the secret keyword: close. So, get down, crawl if you must, and shoot from a low level. Those pictures are going to catch eye and the bonus is you’re going to have fun too, down in the grass, playing with the fur balls that they are. It’s a win win situation.

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