Years ago I bought a camera raincoat, a waterproof nylon and Velcro cover, for the combination of an SLR and my big 300mm f/2.8. I used it off and on for a few years on the relatively rare occasions when rain and an outdoor event coincided.
I thought of that today as our community was inundated with an unusually heavy rainstorm; it appeared on radar that an area of low pressure was repeatedly funneling moist, unstable air over us.
I went around town to shoot the usual boiler-plate flooding art: cars splashing through bumper-deep water, police cars blocking low water crossings, kids playing in puddles. I got pretty wet doing it, mostly because at my last stop, I stepped in a deep puddle, then another burst of rain came down.
For shooting in the driving rain like that, I find that solutions like the camera raincoat are awkward and not all that effective. I usually just carry a towel with me, and hide the camera under my jacket until I need to shoot with it.
With sports in the rain, I need my best gear, but for shooting what we in the biz call “weather art,” I’ll grab my oldest, most beat-up camera and lens combo, in this case a Nikon D100 and a broken Tamron 18-200mm. In fact, when I was shooting a stalled car earlier today, the driver said, “I hope it doesn’t get your camera wet,” to which I replied, “It’s my rain camera, so I don’t really care how wet it gets.”
The rain camera with the rain lens also has the advantage of being a one-camera solution, so I can get in and out of the car without getting as soaking wet as I might with a whole bag of gear.
Back at the office I loaded my images to my computer and simultaneously used a blow dryer to dry my shoes. You can use a blow dryer on a camera that’s been soaked by the rain, but beware that higher heat settings have the potential to melt plastics, and that you might be blowing hot dust onto your sensor.
Despite its challenges, I was very happy to see the rain today.