The weather forecast was not exactly promising as our group of photographers trundled up the hills from Durban to the Drakensberg last week. Heavy rain set in as we left the city and stayed more or less with us until we reached Royal Natal at the base of the Amphitheatre. Wet and cold drenched the mountains in a heavy cloak of cloud so that one wag commented that they thought there wasn't actually a mountain after all. Ha...ha...ha
|Steve looking suitably damp as he shoots near the Cascades at Royal Natal. Note the use of a lens hood to give at least some protection to the front element from rain
The following morning any thought of a sunrise shoot was swept away in the downpour. We did manage to get a few shots off though as the mountain suddenly emerged, wreathed in tendrils of mist and low lying damp cloud (first image in this post). Regrettably I was laid low by a stomach bug so ended up teaching in the lodge rather than attempting the 14km walk to the tunnel and back. Nonetheless it was a productive day for the photographers who opted to avoid getting soaked and concentrate on post-production techniques.
|First dry light of the entire workshop. 2 stop hard ND grad metered of the grass in the middle distance.
Sunday dawned cold and clear and we finally got some time with the mountain sans rain and cold. The flanks of the Amphitheatre burned a throbbing red as the sun finally gave us some warmth. From there it was a dash to the Cathedral Peak portion of the Drakensberg to set out on the primeval like Rainbow Gorge.
|A waterfall at the mouth of the tunnel at the end of Rainbow Gorge. A polarizer helps control reflections. The exposure was optimized for shadows and to just avoid clippping the highlights. In post the darks have been darkened.
There's not much of a teaching point in this post apart from to make sure that you carry enough drugs with on photographic trips. My veritable pharmacy of photographers meant that despite being laid low with a stomach bug I was able to remain relatively active (to the point that I was only stationary for one day). Travel with the right meds and you will increase your shooting time. Just don't be ridiculous and get caught up in hypochondria as you prepare I suppose. To my pill-pushing saviours though, Thank You!
One more take away is this: even with rain one can create interesting images. As long as you are careful, your camera is able to withstand a fair dose of the elements. Keep a towel handy and make sure that the gear doesn't stay wet for too long and dries out slowly (not near a fire or heater - this just causes condensation) and you can keep shooting in the rain.