July 29, 2013


Rainbows apologize for angry skies.  -Sylvia Voilor

FOCUS:  Landscape

Ahhh… the illusive rainbow picture.  So many  things have to go right to capture a rainbow that it is almost ridiculous…

1.  First, you need to find a rainbow.  Sounds silly, but it’s true.  Rainbows really aren’t that common.

2.  Then, you need to have your camera ready.  Carrying your camera with you everywhere helps here.

3.  Next, you need to be in the right location.  In this particular instance, I was absolutely not in the right place at the right time.  In fact, I was on the road in rush hour traffic completely surrounded by office buildings when the full arch of this rainbow appeared.  Big bummer.  I ended up pulling off on some side streets and driving around like a mad woman trying to find a clear view of the rainbow.  Luckily, I found a building that backed up to some open space and I pulled into the parking lot.

4.  After that, you need to think about composition.  How much foreground?  How much sky?  Wide angle or zoom?  Deep or shallow DOF?  Polarizer – yes, no?  All of these decisions need to be made quickly as rainbows are notoriously fleeting.  For this shot, I took control of the composition by plopping down on the wet ground in order to minimize the foreground and maximize the sky.  As for technical details, well I must admit that I simply set the camera to ‘P’ and left it at that – after all ‘P’ stands for ‘professional’, right?  🙂

5.  Finally, you push the shutter release and hope for the best.  The point is not to waste so much time fiddling with the camera that you forget to sit back and enjoy the rainbow for what it is – a rare magic show put on by Mother Nature. 


6 replies to “July 29, 2013

  1. Love this shot. I’ll have to remember the P is for professional perspective. So many times I miss something because I was fiddling with settings. I have recently given in on ISO and set it on automatic when I wanted to keep the other settings static. I’m usually pleased with the outcome. Again, wonderful shot!

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Nora. An old photography teacher of mine was the first person to tell me that ‘P’ was for professional. I think he simply meant to convey that sometimes it’s okay to relinquish control, and just enjoy the moment. Sound advice!

  2. I got lucky on my second outing with my new, non-professional, digital camera and caught a rainbow in a number of shots – they tend to hang around in Ireland. Found this post really helpful and amusing. Naturally, your rainbow shot is way better than the one I posted!

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Safia! I checked out your rainbow photos, and I think they are lovely – especially the setting. We spent a couple of weeks in western Ireland a few years ago (County Mayo & County Galway), and I have been longing to go back ever since. You are fortunate to live on such a beautiful isle – lush, green, and full of wonderfully friendly people.

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