Spring Weather is a photographic challenge

Spring is here. The Sun has shown its face yet the rains continue. Flowers are starting to bloom and the heart aches to get outside. It is a challenging time. I won’t take my equipment out in the rain but the sun breaks call to me. How to decide when to go out becomes my biggest question.

Two years ago I went out for a morning and ran into a Black Phoebe. I was getting in a little closer than I had previously managed and had hope for a good image. As I shot the clouds rolled in and rain started falling. Though I was only 10 minutes from the pickup, by the time I got back I was pretty well drenched. The end result was having to send my 100-400mm zoom in to Canon for repairs; water damage. That outing had a $300 price tag.

Black Phoebe in the rain, Canon 50D 100-400mm Lens f6.7 1/180th sec


The experience has made me a bit gun shy when it comes to weather. But, one has to get out if one is to make photos.

Monday I woke to find the sun shining. Looking South I could see a large bank of clouds rolling in. The prediction was for scattered showers with Sun breaks. I hesitated and then gathered my gear and headed to the beach in search of Snowy Plover and Sanderling. It turned out that the showers didn’t actually occur until late in the afternoon. I was able to spend a couple hours with wonderful weather.

The light was challenging as it changed from clouds to sun to clouds to sun. I left the white balance set to auto. I will often do this since I can change the white balance on the computer anyway. The only reason it makes any difference what it is set on in camera is so I get a good preview.

Snowy Plover and Bric-a-brac Canon 5DmkII 500mm Lens with 1.4x extender and 25mm extension tube. f9 1/200th

Often times I find the debris or bric-a-brac along the beach to be distracting. In this image, however, I like the feel it gives. One does learn to accept a certain amount of such material as this is home to the Snowy Plover.

Sanderling, on the other hand, tend to be near the waters edge where the beach has been washed clean. It is an area of pristine sand. I thoroughly enjoy photographing them though they rarely hold still for more than a moment.

Sanderling coming close Canon 5DmkII 500mm Lens with 1.4x extender and 25mm Extension tube. f11 1/500th


In the end, it was a very good day. I am glad I took the chance and went out.



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  1. Don March 28, 2012 at 11:23 pm #

    That is a delightful photo of a black phoebe. Those little twerps do not always sit still.

    I like to hike and I carry a camera. And the current weather is not very predictable. So I carry a plastic bag in my pocket to protect my camera in case of rain. I have used it several times. Of course I still got wet, but my camera has always survived. :-)

    • Steve March 29, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

      Yes, I used to carry a bag. I would screw a filter onto the lens which would cut a whole int the bag. Then I would remove the cut out piece and re-apply the filter giving me a fairly water safe container with optical quality opening. Unfortunatly, our cameras and lenses no longer will fit in a bag.

      We are now thinking about the weather protection system by Think Tank. It looks like it could work very well.

      As for Phoebe, they do seem to like to move about a bit. When they do land it seems they prefer branches well out over the water making it hard to get near them. I guess that is part of the challenge, part of the fun.

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