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PHOTOGRAPHING IN THE RAIN AT THE KEUKENHOF GARDENS    

By Efrain M. Padro in Leiden, the Netherlands It was cool, and the skies were battleship gray… and drizzling. For most people, these are lousy weather conditions. But as our group returned from Holland’s world-famous Keukenhof Gardens yesterday, I was confident I’d see some stunning shots in the photo reviews. And, I was right. Believe it or not, overcast, drizzly conditions are perfect for photographing flowers. Here’s why: ** 1. Overcast skies create very soft, diffused light, which is flattering to everything from flowers to faces. Soft light allows us to see details, unlike harsh, contrasty light, which produces detail-less shadows. ** 2. Although it seems counterintuitive, soft light also produces richer colors than direct sunlight. ** 3. In drizzling conditions, close-ups of flowers could be covered in small droplets, adding an extra touch to your pictures. But photographing under gray skies also has its challenges. Here are some tips to take your very best flower photos on overcast and rainy days: ** 1. Try not to include any, or much, of the sky. Overcast skies provide the perfect light, but they do not make a good subject, themselves. Avoid the sky altogether by taking close-ups of a single flower or a collection of flowers, or include very little of the sky through the trees here and there, or as just a sliver at the top of the frame. ** 2. Use a polarizing filter to knock down reflections and add contrast and saturation. ** 3. Use knee pads (the gardening ones) to comfortably get flower-level-low for that intimate view of your subjects. ** 4. To protect your camera, cover it with a shower cap (some hotels still provide free ones). ** 5. If you want to try something different, here’s an exception to my first tip: Photograph upward through the flowers, exposing your shot for the flowers (not the sky), and watch the sky turn completely white. This technique yields a simple and elegant backdrop to the colorful flowers, as in this shot: [Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]

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