When It Rains on Your Nature Photo Shoot

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. 

Lori A. Cash Photography Blog is where I will discuss all things related to wildlife, nature and vineyard photography.
A grasshopper on flower at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

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.

Lori A. Cash Photography Blog is where I will discuss all things related to wildlife, nature and vineyard photography.
A red-bellied watersnake slithering in a flower garden at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

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.

Lori A. Cash Photography Blog is where I will discuss all things related to wildlife, nature and vineyard photography.
A Black-eyed Susan flower with a raindrop on petal.

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

Please follow me on…..

Share with friends…..

Photographing Bullfrog at the Norfolk Botanical Garden

I went to the Norfolk Botanical Garden to photograph some flowers last week. After arriving at the garden and photographing some flowers, I heard a bullfrog calling. Of course, my instinct is to follow the call and check it out since wildlife photography is so much a part of me. In the pond behind the Sara Lee Baker Perennial Garden, I found a very large bullfrog hanging out in the pond. So, I switched gears from flowers to wildlife, and luckily, I had my 55-200mm lens with me so that I was able to switch gears and focus on photographing the bullfrog. As I always say, you have to be prepared for anything when going on a photo shoot, at least for me, as I am a diversified photographer with lots of different subject interests.  

Lori A. Cash Photography Blog is where I will discuss all things related to wildlife, nature and vineyard photography.
A bullfrog portrait while sitting on the side wall of a pond at the Norfolk Botanical Garden in Norfolk, Virginia.

After walking over to the pond from the perennial garden area, I discovered the bullfrog was in the water. Its head was just above the surface of the water, and the bullfrog looked very photogenic. In fact, the bullfrog was very cooperative and let me take pictures of it for quite a long time.

Once I located the bullfrog in the pond, I quickly changed my camera settings from those for flower photography to those for wildlife photography. I knew I would need more shutter speed and the widest aperture I could get to blur the background of the water as much as possible. I increased my ISO to 800 and got a shutter speed of around 1/100 to 1/250, and my aperture was around f/6.3. I first tried using my tripod, but I really wanted to get lower down to the ground and just decided to hand hold my camera while photographing the bullfrog. Of course, I was not expecting to be doing this type of photography so I had on a nicer pair of tan shorts and did not want to get them really dirty by lying flat on the pine needles and dirt ground. Therefore, I got down on all fours so that I could photograph the bullfrog at eye level. I kept my camera and lens as steady as possible in this position.

Lori A. Cash Photography Blog is where I will discuss all things related to wildlife, nature and vineyard photography.
Lori A. Cash on the ground with a low view angle photographing a bullfrog at the Norfolk Botanical Garden in Norfolk, Virginia.

While in that position taking pictures, I kept noticing in my viewfinder that the background had some distractions, such as light hitting the pond or floating debris in the pond, so, I kept moving around trying to find the best angle and position to get the image of the bullfrog that I was envisioning. I also started changing some of my camera settings and dropping my ISO to 400. In my wildlife photography, when I take pictures of my subjects, I really like the blurred background look, and this is what I was trying to achieve with the bullfrog. Although during the first part of photographing the bullfrog while it was in the water, I was not able to fully blur the water, but I kept all the distractions of the light hitting the water and the debris minimal by constantly moving around on the ground changing my position. After about 30 minutes or so, I decided to get up off the ground and take a break on a bench nearby.

After a short break, I checked on the bullfrog again, and it was now sitting on the wall edge of the pond. I grabbed my camera and lens and went back to photographing the bullfrog. Again, I got down on all fours and took pictures of the very cooperative bullfrog in various different positions. I was now able to get the bullfrog’s whole body in my frame and captured over 100 images of the bullfrog that morning. Eventually, after a few minutes of photographing the bullfrog out of the water, it quickly jumped back into the water, and my photo shoot of that very photogenic bullfrog ended.

Lori A. Cash Photography Blog is where I will discuss all things related to wildlife, nature and vineyard photography.
A bullfrog swimming in pond at the Norfolk Botanical Garden in Norfolk, Virginia.

I then found a second bullfrog with its head just above the surface of the water and photographed it for a while before the sunlight started hitting the nose area of the bullfrog. I adjusted my exposure compensation quite a bit, but I kept getting that blown out area on the bullfrog.    

A bullfrog up close swimming in pond at the Norfolk Botanical Garden in Norfolk, Virginia.

The pond was pretty much shaded as it is located under a big tree. We had arrived at the Norfolk Botanical Garden when it opened at 9:00 a.m. So, the lighting was pretty good except for some sunlight hitting the water through the trees. I now will most definitely check this pond area out each time we go to the garden. We go almost weekly, but I had never actually seen a frog hanging out above the water there before.

I wanted to share some of my photos of the bullfrog as I really got so many great looks and pictures.

Lori A. Cash Photography Blog is where I will discuss all things related to wildlife, nature and vineyard photography.
An American bullfrog floating in a pond at the Norfolk Botanical Garden in Norfolk, Virginia.

Hope you enjoy the bullfrog pictures. Let me know what you think of these pictures.

Thank you for taking the time to view and read my blog.

All the very best,

Lori A. Cash

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I will get back with you.


Please follow me on…..

Share with friends…..

New Interest in Vineyard Photography

Late last year, I started getting interested more in vineyards and wine, especially since moving to Virginia and living in the Hampton Roads Region of Virginia Wine Country. There are over 300 wineries throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. This abundance of wineries provides a lot of opportunities to explore this type of photography. Virginia is rapidly growing in the wine industry, and with the multitude of wineries in Virginia, I developed a new interest in vineyard photography.


Lori A. Cash Photography Blog is where I will discuss all things related to wildlife, nature and vineyard photography.
A vineyard in the summer at The Williamsburg Winery in Virginia Wine Country.

My favorite winery is The Williamsburg Winery in Williamsburg, Virginia. I first fell in love with this place because, when I visit their property, it is as if I were actually in another place such as France. In fact, The Williamsburg Winery was inspired by Europe’s finest estates with their architecture and with their furnishings. The Williamsburg Winery is a 320-acre farm known as “Wessex Hundred”, and they have over 50 acres of different varietal grapes planted in their vineyards. Their first wine was produced in 1988, called the Governor’s White, and they continue to still produce this wine, which is one of their most popular wines.

The Williamsburg Winery is a distinctive winery destination and, by the way, makes some very delicious wines, which I regularly enjoy. The property has a rich history that dates back to the early Colonial era and has unique scenery for vineyard photography. It is a great place to get away and to explore the vineyards in the countryside.


Lori A. Cash Photography Blog is where I will discuss all things related to wildlife, nature and vineyard photography.
A barrel sunrise at the entrance of The Williamsburg Winery in Williamsburg, Virginia.

After several visits to The Williamsburg Winery, I started to become very interested in the process of wine making and the maturing of the vineyards. This led me to want to photograph the changes that occur during the wine grape growing season.

Just as with my wildlife photography, getting to know the subject is very important in capturing great vineyard photography.  In Virginia, a new grape growing season starts in Spring with the bud break, and during the summer months, you can find green vines growing on the trellis systems with green grapes on row after row in the vineyards. Sometime in the August time period, those grapes will start to turn purple in the ripening phase, also known as going through veraison. The harvest time in Virginia is usually late-August through late-October, depending on the variety of grape as some ripen fast than others. During this ripening phase, the grapes are protected with net coverings to keep them safe from deer and birds as the grapes are becoming sweeter in the ripening phase. There are several factors to when a particular variety of grape is harvested by hand such as the weather, pH levels, sugar levels and acidity. The grapevines are pruned during the dormant season, which is in the winter in Virginia.


Lori A. Cash Photography Blog is where I will discuss all things related to wildlife, nature and vineyard photography.
Grape clusters hanging on the grapevines at The Williamsburg Winery in Williamsburg, Virginia.

I have learned a lot about the vineyards and the grapes this growing season, and as I continue to explore this new avenue of vineyard photography, I am sure I will continue to grow in my knowledge of wines, grapes and vineyards. I am looking forward to capturing the upcoming harvest season in at the Williamsburg Winery and in Virginia Wine Country.  


Lori A. Cash Photography Blog is where I will discuss all things related to wildlife, nature and vineyard photography.
A vineyard sunrise on a summer morning at The Williamsburg Winery in Virginia Wine Country.

Stay tuned to my blog as I will continue to write about my vineyard photography adventures.

Thank you for taking the time to view and read my blog.

All the very best,

Lori A. Cash

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I will get back with you.


Please follow me on…..

Share with friends…..

%d bloggers like this: