Kodiak Brown Bear family captured by Z 9 / 800f5.6AFS

Rain is a part of our experience outdoors photographing critters. Often though, we either run from it or curse it. It’s not very often we embrace it let alone try to tell its side of the story. In Alaska, rain is part of the summer which is why in part it is so green. The critters there including the Kodiak Brown Bear go about their day rain or shine like normal. On this particular afternoon, I wanted the gloppy Alaska rain to be as much of the story as the bears. There are two challenges with this goal, both are technically. Keeping the gear “dry” while showing the rain in the photograph. Both are actually easily once you think it through.

As for the gear, my rule of thumb is, if I can stand the rain, so can my gear. The Z 9 / 800f5.6AFS are old hands at working in the rain. You just need to “blot” your gear dry to keep water from pooling. The gear is not hiding under the towel or some cover, it’s hanging out there just like me. You blot with a clean, dry, white towel so as to not force any moisture in places it shouldn’t go. And in showing the rain, it’s a highlight so making it appear, you need something dark behind it. Then depending on the size of the rain drops and how fast its falling, you dial in the shutter speed for the “blur” you want and that makes it appear in the photograph. And with that, you photograph a rainy day in the Kodiak Brown Bear world. It’s all about capturing the rain.

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