Street Photography on a Rainy Day

It’s a question of feeling. Rainy days nearly always evoke a bittersweet emotion in people who venture outside. On such a day you can capture this feeling and preserve it for the future.

I think the emotion people feel is modified or exaggerated by the amount of rain that falls. So in this article I’m talking exclusively about days in which the rain is light or moderate, not ones where there’s a torrential downpour with claps of thunder overhead.

The pictures you can get during extreme weather conditions are much more dramatic and the emotion is likely to be one of steely resolve rather than wistful melancholy.

I do, occasionally, take my camera out in a thunderstorm and I always get some pleasing shots. I’ll make these the subject of a separate post. This time, it’s light rain only.

Pretend It’s Not There
Maybe the best conditions are when the day is beginning to brighten but the rain keeps falling intermittently. At those times, many people will just pretend it’s not raining at all (as in the featured image above).

Rather than take out an umbrella the lady on the left pulls her coat over her head while the other, younger people just splash around as best they can. Those who are standing in the back of the mini-bus are probably wearing damp tee-shirts, but they’ll soon dry out with the whoosh of air swirling around them.

Do you see what I mean about the wistful emotion? No one’s laughing or smiling, but neither does anyone seem really unhappy. It’s just one of those days: and it’s not all bad. When rain falls in Bangkok, the air pollution is lowered. The dust settles into a muddy residue on the street. People can breathe more easily.

Huddle Together
When the rain intensifies, people’s mood becomes bleaker. Now’s the time to get serious about protecting each other from the hostile elements. Out come the umbrellas (always a favourite with street photographers) and it’s time to start trudging home.

In my shot (above), two couples are crossing the road in the rain, huddled together. The man in front seems to have loaned his jacket to his partner. It’s much too big for her and she looks a little embarrassed to be wearing it, a fact that adds to the feeling of the photo. The couple behind are bedecked with duck motifs, which seems appropriate.

Checking for Rain
Strangely enough, rainy day emotion can prevail even when it’s dry. Emerging from a small covered market, the man in my photo (below) checks to see if rain is falling. Everything appears fine, except that another man in the background is wiping his face as if he’s just been out in the rain.

I like this photo. It has a contradiction at its heart, but everything is in the right place. As in the other shots the tones are soft and pleasant, just the way I like them. I don’t know what I’d do without rainy days.

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