It’s finally autumn — yay for that! Even though it’s hard to accept that summer is once again behind us, my inner photographer has been really waiting for the season to change. The past summer was absolutely beautiful. I haven’t experienced such a warm and sunny summer in a long time. Beautiful as it was, it was also way too bright for the kind of photography I prefer. Many times I felt like each day had exactly the same weather conditions as the previous one — just harsh sunlight every day. As a black and white oriented photographer, I’m usually after something else. Autumn has always been my favourite season to shoot. There’s just something about old streets and rain.

I’m a total sucker for cobble stone streets and umbrellas. I happened to visit the old time of Porvoo (extremely nice old city in southern Finland) just the other day and luckily it was pouring with rain. Not many people would consider that as such a positive thing, but I had an hour to kill and the conditions happened to perfect for real noir photography. I didn’t catch any so called master pieces, but these are close enough. I didn’t manage to capture any terribly interesting moments or situations, so I just made what I was able to in those restrictions. I would’ve like to capture more distinctive gestures or interactions, but I had to settle for people walking around in rain with their umbrellas. I was was really waiting for some hipster or at least a Poirot lookalike to appear, but I had to settle with people with annoyingly modern clothing and attire. But masterpieces or not, this is just the kind of stuff I’d like to pursue more, so consider this as a practise run. I’ll definitely continue with this endeavour.

Here’s two of my favourite shots of this particular outing. I had only an hour to spend and the rest of the images consisted mainly of test shots while trying to tune into the conditions.

Rainy street photography in Porvoo part 1
Rainy street photography in Porvoo part 2

Shooting in the rain isn’t by the way the easiest thing to do. Especially if you’re shooting a manual camera, like me. The trick is to simultaneously trying to hold the umbrella, while operating the camera. I used my left hand to grip both the camera and the umbrella. The right hand was reserved for settings, focusing and shutter release. I relied a lot on zone focusing and camped out on a spot that wanted to use as a background. I also had a dry rag in the pocket so I could wipe the water droplets from the lens, that constantly got some splatter.

I wish I’d had more keepers, but two good shots in one hours isn’t too bad to be honest. There weren’t that many people around of course, because rain. I tried to look for other things as well, because some things just look amazing in the rain.

Practically everything looks more interesting in the rain. I’m a sucker for old cars as well, but this shot would’ve not worked in the sun shine.

I’ve been shooting Ilford HP5+ latety just because it’s a bit cheaper than Kodak Tri-x, which is my usual go-to choice. I had HP5+ loaded in the camera on this instance too. These photos are shot with my Leica M6 and the quite recently acquired Carl Zeiss 50mm f2 T* ZM lens. Developing at Kodak D-76 with 1:1 dilution. Scanned with my legendary, dirt cheap Epson V330.