Is it worth heading outside in the rain?

Who else knows that feeling…. waiting all week for a free weekend to head out the door on a scenic hike or photography venture just to wake up and see dull, grey skies. Then it gets worse – the sound of rain falling.

As a distance runner for much of my life, I have the ingrained habit of letting out an audible sigh when I wake up to rain. In the past that typically meant cold, wet body parts and sloppy, soaked shoes. Not great. But as a photographer, I’ve learned to appreciate that morning sigh!

If you don’t own waterproof jackets and pants, this kind of weather could be an immediate turn off. Nobody I know likes to head outside just to be immediately chilled to the core by a wet and dreary day. But these are exactly the types of days that are perfect for hitting the trails and bringing a camera!


Well, for one there’s fewer people out on the trails (in general). My motivation for hiking and photographing is always to enjoy the outdoors in as much solitude as possible, so this is a big perk. Not that I don’t want others to enjoy the stunning national parks, trails, etc., but I really do enjoy quiet mornings with nothing but the sound of rushing water and birds.

And second, this is a big one, the light is often way, way better than a super clear and cloudless day. With rain comes diffuse light thanks to overcast skies… perfect for photos that typically would have a lot of very high contrast between bright sky and dark shadows, like the forest scene below:

There’s also the potential for absolutely incredible light. While fans of blue sky days call this kind of weather less than ideal, for photography purposes it is perfect. Below are a few images captured while standing in the rain, blistering cold, or wind… I think they were worth it!

Worst though, is had I stayed inside on numerous occasions, I would have missed some of the great light shows given by “poor” weather. Or should I say, perfect weather? Fog, rain, mist, snow, ice, blizzards… I’ll take them all!

If you want to protect your camera setup, I highly recommend these $15 rain/snow/weather protective covers. I just picked up two myself for my Canon R and 5DSR so that not even torrential downpours will prevent me from hitting the trails!

What do you think? Do you track weather forecasts so that bad weather days you hit the trails?

Happy trails,


3 Comments on “Is it worth heading outside in the rain?

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