A couple of weekends ago, I had plans to open up First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach, Virginia when it opened at 8:00 a.m. to do a nature photo shoot around the grounds of the park. I had never been to First Landing State Park. So, I was excited for the potential of finding different subjects at the park and to exploring the park to see what all the photography potentials were for nature photography.
However, as we were driving to the park, the weather was not cooperating as it started to rain. Of course, we proceeded onward to the main entrance of First Landing State Park on Shore Drive in Virginia Beach. When we got to the park, we drove up to the trail center and parked the car. At this time, it was lightly sprinkling, so I gathered my camera, lens and tripod and walked around the flower gardens at the front of the trail center. I took a few flower pictures until it started to rain a little more heavily. Fortunately, there is a porch area in the front of the visitor center, and we headed for some cover from the rain.
So, when it rains on your nature photo shoot, you have to try to make the best of the situation, and actually, photographing in the rain has its advantages, as I discovered on this day. We never left that porch area in the nearly four hours that we were at the trail center. There were so many nature photo shoot opportunities right in front of me. The subjects I encountered during this time included flowers with raindrops, ferns under the porch, wet rocks in the gardens, a frog wandering around the porch area, a grasshopper on a flower, a snake roaming around the flower gardens and a snail on a leaf on the ground.
I did not have any rain protection for my camera with me that day, so when the rain would briefly subside to a sprinkle or momentarily stop, I would dart out with my camera, lens and tripod to take some photographs of the flowers with rain drops. I focused on trying to find different compositions that also included raindrops on the flower petals. When it started raining again, I would return to the shelter under the porch at the trail center. I would hang out there and photograph the various subjects that I could photograph from the covered porch in order to keep my camera gear and myself as dry as possible.
About an hour after arriving at the park, while hanging out under the porch area, I was alerted to a snake that was slithering across the side of the porch area just beside me. So, I luckily had my 55-200mm zoom lens on my camera, and I quickly changed my camera settings to photograph the snake. I was able to stay a safe distance away and got down low to the ground to photograph the red-bellied water snake.
Over the course of the next three hours, I had several opportunities to photograph the red-bellied water snake as it kept slithering around the gardens at the trail center. In fact, at one point, it was tracking a frog. I did not realize that the snake was tracking this frog. I was too busy, glued to my camera taking pictures of the snake. Suddenly, the snake darted very quickly towards the frog. I thought for one second that the snake was coming for me, but then I saw the little frog frantically hopping as fast as it could to get away from the snake. The little frog did get away. However, the snake did take a big bite and latched onto my tripod leg. I was not sure if the snake had mistaken my tripod leg for the frog that scurried by my tripod or if my tripod leg was just in the way. I eventually stood on a nearby bench on the porch and took a few more pictures as the snake was slithering around looking for the frog. Anyway, that action was a little heart stopping, and eventually the snake went back to the gardens area, and I did not see it again that day. I did manage to take a few really nice images of the red-bellied water snake.
For the next couple of hours during the moments when the rain would let up enough, I would venture out from underneath the porch area with my camera, lens and tripod and focus on working with compositions of flowers with raindrops and getting the blurred background. I would try various angles to find what I was looking for and would change my camera’s depth of field to obtain that composition. Eventually, the rain stopped, and we were able to venture more around the park and find some other subjects such as mushrooms, trees, and the beach area.
Even though it rained on my nature photo shoot and my first visit to First Landing State Park, I did not let that deter me from being creative and taking pictures, and I was rewarded with some great subjects including wildlife that I was not expecting to see while taking cover under the porch area of the trail center. ‘Always expect the unexpected and be prepared for anything’ is a motto that I always say to myself in regards to my nature photo shoots.
When it rains on your nature photo shoot, you should embrace the creative opportunity that the rain gives you for your nature photography. Whether it is wildlife, macro or close-up photography, there are endless opportunities to be creative and to find different subjects in the rain. Next time it rains on your nature photo shoot, experiment and be creative with your nature photography. It just may pay off with some excellent rain inspired images. Hope this inspires you to go out and photograph on a rainy day.
Stay tuned as I will be posting an upcoming Photography Location Guide blog entry for First Landing State Park.
Thank you for taking the time to view and read my blog.
All the very best,
Lori A. Cash
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