There are instances when a photographer meticulously plans a wedding photo, and then there is serendipity. Such was the case for Portland wedding photographer Craig Mitchelldyer when he worked a wedding at Gorge Crest Vineyards near the Oregon/Washington border.
Inclement weather is the soup du jour with rain during “200 of the last 245 days” according to Mitchelldyer, and he is constantly checking weather apps.
“There were a few clouds during the day, but they were the friendly white puffy ones, so
I didn’t even consider rain an option,” said Mitchelldyer who usually uses Aquatech raincovers for his cameras and Ziploc bags for his speedlights on “normal” rain days.
Mitchelldyer was waiting to take some wedding portraits near sunset when a guest mentioned that a big storm cloud was moving in their direction. “I was looking south and didn’t even see the storm to the north, so I looked up and said, ‘Sweet! I hope that sucker parks itself right over the top of us because that will make for a really nice sunset!’”
After shooting some wedding portraits, Mitchelldyer started heading back to the reception with the bride and groom when it started to downpour. But when he looked towards Mount Hood, he saw that the clouds had cleared from the peaks and what was a faint rainbow had grown in intensity.
“At this point, I said, ‘I hope you guys don’t mind some rain, but we really need to shoot a few frames right now!’ They were super excited and I setup my speed lights and fired maybe 10-15 shots while we all stood there in the rain in awe of what was happening.” Mitchelldyer didn’t even notice the double rainbow until later.
Mitchelldyer uses an iPad to setup a near real-time slideshow during weddings. He transmitted this image a few minutes after shooting it, and guests predictably started freaking out.
Luck favors the prepared, and Mitchelldyer can’t help but take a self-critical eye, “There is a bunch of things I wish I’d done differently, like use a softer light source, have them stand in a different spot maybe, use a gelled backlight to show the raindrops, but hey, when you have 4 minutes you take what you can get.”
We’ll take this one.
About the author: Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter, which regularly publishes resources for photographers. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Allen is a graduate of Yale University, and flosses daily. This article was also published here.