The autumn leaves were gorgeous as the weekend approached, warm and glowing across the city. Imagine what they would look like in the rolling hills and reflective waters of the Lakes District? A bit of planning and the visit was set.
To coincide with a day of torrential downpour.
It’s easy to take great pictures on sunny days, early and late sunlight, contrasting blue skies and orange leaves. Mist and rain change light: they dim the intensity, soften the contrasts, eliminate shadows, and absorbing long-wavelength reds. This creates a lot of variations of grey, not well captured by the camera, and dull dark colors even in autumn photos.
As well as water on the lens.
What to do (in addition to keeping the camera dry)? A soggy day offered an opportunity to take the challenge.
First, the water itself can be an interesting subject, close in puddles, embedded in landscapes, or misting the hills.
Second, the deeper shadows create scenes with planes of light and dark tunnels. Light balance is hard, though, and I have to be careful not to aim into sunlight unless I want stark black/white pictures (making tree trunks into clawed feet).
Third, wet objects do have more color than dry ones. The trick is finding scenes with partial natural illumination. Using a flash on landscapes is not effective, and post-processing is artificial.
Finally, mist adds areal perspective, depth and distance, and textures skies as they curl over mountaintops.