Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Shooting in Wet Weather

There was a dust storm raging as I got off the plane and headed into Dubai on Saturday and here I was today, Tuesday, wading up the road through puddles (actually small lakes) over entire stretches of highway outside the conference venue! Unfortunately for me, today was a location day. As the radio woke me up, the newsreader was announcing storms down the coast in Abu Dhabi, while schools in Dubai were being closed, children sent home, and every underpass in town had turned into an unheated hot tub. Now I know why the clock radio is called an 'alarm clock'. By the time I was fully awake, I was also alarmed by what I had heard.
As the workshop didn't start till 2pm, I spent most of the morning trying to come up with a suitable 'plan B' that involved entertaining a bunch of students who'd paid good money to go out shooting on location. The rain bucketed down for hours filling every depressed surface with inches (and in some case several feet) of water.  Amazingly, by the time we had finished the Powerpoint lecture, the rain had stopped and it looked as though the sun was about to come out. Miracles can happen. By the time we got to the Festival city location - down by the Dubai Creek we could see blue sky.

The great thing about shooting directly after a downpour is the surface water lying about. Very awkward if you don't have decent footwear but fantastic for catching reflections. As you'll see in these two pictures from the workshop, I encouraged students to specifically look for reflections, especially once daylight had gone.
The picture of the marina was a lucky one because the muddy pathway directly in front of the steel fence had filled with water, giving this amazing 'infinity pool' effect. I couldn't have asked for a better reflection shot (25secs @ f14, ISO 100, EOS 40D, 24-70mm f2.8 L series).

The second shot, a reflection of a funfair slide attraction, was made all the more interesting because of the extreme colour used in its neon decorations. The local ticket-wallahs were more interested in why I was taking a picture of the ground rather than the attraction itself. I suspect something got lost in my English-to-Tamil explanation. This was three frames, shot in AEB bracketing mode, on my EOS 40D. I did a quick assembly using these with Photomatix Pro and fine-tuned the production using Photoshop. I've been to this location before but honestly think this wet, slightly soggy evening provided the best results thanks to the expansive quantities of runoff water and the great reflections they provided. The last shot was made in Tungsten White Balance setting which turned the ambient light bright blue - but the yellow/red tungsten lights still come out yellow red making the light seem quite surreal. Click the pictures to see a larger version.
Moral lesson: Never underestimate the potential of shooting in poor conditions because this is a time when you can, potentially, produce your best results...

No comments:

Post a Comment