Good Moments in Bad Weather

Posted on March 28th, by Danny Santos II in bad weather, Personal Project. 36 comments

Rain Photographs in Singapore by Danny Santos

I’m a weekend photographer, and I used to always stay at home and sulk whenever it rains on a weekend. I figured: the light’s no good, my gear could get wet, and the streets would be empty. There wouldn’t be anything worth shooting. I’d complain in the forums whenever a weekend goes by and it’s raining all afternoon. Until someone replied and suggested “why not shoot in the rain and see what you come up with?” I paused and figured “hmmm, why not?”

So there I was on the next rainy weekend, walking in the middle of the downpour with an umbrella on one hand, and my camera on the other. I walked and waited for quite a while, hoping for something interesting to happen. The street, as I suspected, was empty. But then I’d see the occasional lone drifter walking amidst the heavy rain in the middle of an otherwise crowded street. That’s when I realized the potential for interesting human drama in bad weather. That’s when I’d start to get excited with the rain. After a few weekends of walking, waiting in the rain, with a little luck, I’ve captured these scenes:

A man in a bike with a happy umbrella
This man in a bike was going towards my direction. He saw me take pictures of him and he swerved to avoid me. As he passed by, I turned around and noticed something peculiar about his umbrella. It was smiling at me.
Rain Photograph

Three friends and a small umbrella
I noticed this group of friends chatting, walking under the shade of a tree. As soon as they stepped out of the shade, they screamed as they realized it was raining! So they quickly huddled into the one umbrella they had. I could still hear them giggling and laughing while I took this shot.
Three's a Crowd

A woman running to cross the street
I just crossed the street when I saw this woman suddenly run from the shade and into the rain – and with the biggest smile. I quickly crouched down and fired a couple of shots. On closer look, the writing on her bag perfectly complements the woman’s beauty and grace under the commanding rain. The print says “International Women’s Day”

Two girls running barefoot
A crowd full of umbrellas was walking towards me. I noticed two girls sprinting ahead of the crowd. When they ran past me, I quickly turned around, swung my camera and took photos. It was only when I reviewed the shots that I noticed they were running barefoot. I guess they had new shoes or something.
Bad Weather by Danny Santos

A silhouette in the rain
I noticed a lone girl from afar, walking towards my direction, with her umbrella leaned forward coz the rain was pouring hard. I crouched down and took photos of her. She couldn’t see me nor hear my camera clicking away and she was getting nearer and nearer. This photo was the very last frame where she raised her umbrella… I think she noticed me.
Silhouette in the Rain

Wet Camera
After every shoot I do in the rain, I always end up soaked. I’d be all wet from waist down, my camera with more than a few drops on it, my feet aching from all the walking, and with a little luck, I’d get a few keepers. And it’s all worth it.

Nowadays I constantly check the weather forecast to see if there’s a thunderstorm brewing in the coming weekend. The rain for me has become a blessing in disguise. What I used to detest and avoid, now I have learned to welcome and embrace. It gives a literal meaning to the saying “life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass… it’s about learning to dance in the rain!”

Please click here to see more bad weather shots.

36 thoughts on “Good Moments in Bad Weather

  1. Danny, I admire your patience to get the shots you needed despite the bad weather. You definitely captured these magic moments and I really liked the two ladies running barefoot, haha! Amazing and keep up the fantastic work and I’m a follower of your site! The good thing about raining in SG is that it rains pretty hard and fast giving these unguarded moments ready for your photography eye.

  2. Love that I’m alerted from your twitter, hurrah for the many ADD elements of new tech. I tried shooting in the rain once and was entirely too protective of my gear. Am thinking of better ways to shoot in the rain, you’re absolutely right about the weather though, brings out the best .. and worst in everyone.

  3. @Mistersimbol: That is so true… the rain comes in so hard and fast sometimes people are caught unaware from the middle of the street. And sometimes the rain drops are just unbelievable thick :)

    Thanks for the support, man :) Really much appreciated!

  4. @Sue Anne: It’s totally natural to be protective of your gear.. sometimes i tend to forget it to a pretty reckless level, which is not good. So I tend to hug my camera very close to me to make sure it gets minimal drops of rain. Some cameras are partially weather sealed though, that would help.

    Yup, the rain does sometimes bring out the worst of situations. I remember capturing a woman running for cover, and she slipped and fell down! I captured the moment accidentally. She was ok, she was laughing about it to her friends later… but I never showed it to anyone. I prefer to show good moments.. not bad ones.

  5. i love those rainy shots!! they are my favorite from you… i used to stay home too or not carry my camera during bad weather, but after seeing your early BW rainy shots that made me change my mind… the rain really makes the pictures more interesting!! now that the weather is getting warmer here, i hope to have some nice thunderstorms and time to go take some pictures… :)

  6. The one first caught my eyes in Flickr was your rainy photo.
    It was so impressive that I instantly fell in love with that.

    I also love to take photos in a rainy day and night,
    although I care about my cameras.

    I suppose I have started appreciating more things in this world
    since I took up taking pictures, even a bad weather!

  7. The photos are fantastic indeed.
    Living in London you need to learn how to deal with bad weather, otherwise your opportunities will be very limited! :)

  8. Hi Danny,

    This series is absolutely outstanding – it was a pleasure to be able to have a chance to see these again, all together, and with an interesting back story. My favourite is the last one – just incredible.
    And I completely agree with you – having even just one keeper pays off absolutely any effort! Keep it up!

  9. beautiful set Danny. I am heading to Vancouver on the 25th. I heard it rains a lot in there. You definitely gave me an idea on what to do when it rains. :)

  10. There are a couple of very sensual shots in there — especially the one of the girl with the “International Women’s Day” bag and the one where the girl has her head partially-covered by her jacket. There is so much expression in a photo where much is left to be desired, and little is revealed.

    You are so good at this, and am now sharing these actively on all of my social media outposts.

    Keep up the full-court press…

    –ADM in Prague

  11. wow danny! thanks! my friend gave me the link to your site in the nick of time! I have to shoot how people choose to experience rain differently and this totally inspired me!!!:)
    did getting your camera wet pose any big problems afterwards? what did you do about it?._.

    <3333 your work!!!:)

  12. @Apple: Thanks, Apple! I’m glad you like the shots… nope, I haven’t had any problems so far with getting my camera wet. I use a Nikon D300 which is partially weather-sealed so that might have helped a bit :)

  13. Danny, I admire your work. They are awesome!

    I especially like the first picture (a man on a bike). It is something that I really want to take here in Tokyo. It’s quite often I saw a man/woman on a bike on a rainy day, holding an umbrella and talk on cellphone at the same time! :D. But I haven’t been lucky, yet. I didn’t bring my camera when it happens.

    Quick question: How do you hold the umbrella and your camera (pointing, composing, etc) at the same time? Any tips and tricks?

  14. @Gm: Thanks for the kind words, man! :) There’s really no trick, it’s just as simple as holding the umbrella on one hand, and the camera on the other… just make sure that your grip is good otherwise you might lose your umbrella.. and eventually your camera :)

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    • ‘the barefoot divas’ … that’s a nice name for the pic! :) I love it.. hope you don’t mind if I start using it :)

      And thank you for the reference :)

  16. Hi Danny. I’m just starting out into street photography and hoping to get some inspiration. I came across your work and I really like your work on “Good Weather…” Just like you, I live in the tropics and the rain is a real bitch…that is until I read your article. Now, I know better…time to get me an umbrella! Cheers.

  17. nice pics man,im in singapore too and learning how to most people,im reluctant to go out in the rain with my cam hanging in my neck.not anymore,thanks for the inspiring shots.

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  19. Do you rely on autofocus when photographing in the rain? EXIF data on flickr wasn’t helpful regarding this. If you didn’t use autofocus: How do you operate the camera with only one hand?

  20. After seeing your shots taken on rainy days, I am inspired to go out and shoot away when it rained. I did that recently. I have always welcome the rain (as I love to see my garden grows well) but these days it’s because I will get the chance to take rainy days shots. Thanks for being an inspiration!!

  21. hi Danny, nowadays I am spending lot of time looking at your photographs. Amazing, clear and crisp captures.
    I realize you use NikonD300 . What are the lenses you are using.?


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