Nawfal Nur Photography

How Do You Photograph Rain

“How do you photograph rain,” (alternatively – “How to photograph rain,”) is a question that people are searching for answers for when coming to my blog, and I thought I would run my own simulation to show you how I photograph rain.

I would use the same basic method and equipment if I were outside in the rain:  However, today was sunny for a change…what I mean is, that it appears to be monsoon season here and it typically rains daily.  I got lucky with the sunshine, but not lucky to show how to create rain photographs outside, today.

I created a waterproof light enhancer specifically for wet situations:  Patent Pending…Hahaha…Hummmmm Could be….

Keeping equipment dry when shooting in the rain, or water, is very important.  Yes, that seems almost too logical and obvious; but who knows, maybe someone gets too excited and runs outside in a down-pour and ruins equipment, then, OOPS!


This is the water-tight “Tupperware” light enhancer that I came up with:  I know, it isn’t so pretty, but that does not matter, keeping my light dry is the important thing, plus it creates a really nice, soft diffused light that can be placed close to the subject.

The shot above shows the enhancer without lid, and the photo below shows the inside:  I’m using a METZ 32 Z-2 strobe with a wireless receiver attached.

I have covered half of the inside with tinfoil; therefore, I can angle the METZ head toward the tinfoil, and bounce the light off the tinfoil and out through the front-frosted area of the container, and through the top (lid).  If you need more light, then simply point your flash in the other direction!  You can also drop some colored gels in there and create or filter light as you desire.

METZ 32-Z-2_DSC5496, NJN

Actually, it isn’t Tupperware, but any watertight plastic-ware would do the trick as long as it is easy to get into, and your flash with remote receiver can fit inside.  My flash unit with remote receiver fits perfectly!


A bolt and nut are super-glued and epoxy glued to the bottom of the container.  The nut is glued half-way (ONLY) to the bolt:  The other half of the nut thread is left open, and this is how you attach the light enhancer to a tripod or light stand.  Make sure you get the right sized bolt and nut combo to fit the threads of your tripod head.  Take the head with you to the hardware store if you need to, to try it out.


USE A LOT OF EPOXY (WATER-PROOF TYPE) TO ENSURE THAT THE WEIGHT OF THE ENHANCER + STROBE does not cause it to simply break off where the bolt head connects to the bottom side of the plastic container.  IF the light enhancer takes a tumble, then, well…obviously it could damage the strobe.  Therefore, you may want to put a strobe on the inside that you would not be terribly upset about, if the unforeseeable happens, and it were to fall to the ground.  A dive-bombing flash unit is not a good thing to have happen, but it is possible.


Once you have the enhancer put together the way you want, you need to test it out under water – WITHOUT ANY STROBE!  Run a lot of water all over it and then open it up and see if it stayed dry on the inside.  If yes, then you are good to go.


My device is meant to be placed close to the subject:  Thus, expect your tripod or light stand to get wet.  After I use this enhancer for water shots, I take the tripod out into the hot Malaysian sunshine to dry quickly, and then I lube up all the joints and metal moving parts of the tripod with WD-40 (or any equivalent lubricant product).

This is a Rain Simulation…At Nighttime.

The shower in my bathroom seemed like a good monsoon-style rain simulator.  I also wanted to throw in another point of difficulty – I pretended as if it were raining at nighttime.  Therefore, I had to create an atmosphere like a nighttime rain.

To create a nighttime scene, I taped black material over the bathroom window, and I planned to turn the lights off when making the shot.  MANUAL Focusing had to be done with the lights on.

The photo below shows the position of my light source with respect to the umbrella that was getting rained on.


Now, the main point you need to keep in mind regarding your camera is:  KEEP – IT – DRY!

No matter if you are shooting simulated rain or real rain, you need to keep your camera dry.  For me, with the main shot (below), that meant using a zoom lens and standing back out of the “splash-zone”.

If you are taking real rain photographs, then perhaps you will need your own umbrella (a big one) to stand under while photographing.  Or, you can stand under a porch, or an awning, or in a doorway opening, or anywhere where rain will not get on your camera and lens.

Photographing Rain, No2_DSC5500-C, NJN (2)

Here is my simulated, nighttime rain photograph.

I used my NIKON D3100, with a NIKKOR 35 – 70mm f/3.3 Lens.  My shutter speed was 1/160th second, and the aperture was set at f/11.0.  You can do your own experimentation with shutter speed and aperture combinations.

That is how I create rain photographs, sometimes.

I hope this has provided you with at least one option and answer to the question:  “How to  Photograph Rain?”


ETHEREAL DREAMS & HOPE:  a Photographic Collection with Words to Boost Your Spirit - Third Edition, by Nawfal Johnson Nur

ETHEREAL DREAMS & HOPE: a Photographic Collection with Words to Boost Your Spirit - Third Edition, by Nawfal Johnson Nur


BLUE SPRAY BOTTLE IN THE RAIN, originally uploaded by Nawfal Nur.

La Salsera says:
How did you manage to make this one??? Great!

Nawfal Nur says:

Thank you! The first thing is that it has to rain really heavy. Then, the next thing is that you need to be able to let yourself take your camera out in the rain, and know that it will probably get wet. You can always use some underwater casing, but oh well, I don’t. These are the biggest things that are needed to take this type of image. Then, it is a matter of trial and error – a lot of error!

Trade Secrets & Photography

Trade Secrets and Photography.

A Trade secret is a process or device for continuous use in the operations of the business. Generally it relates to the production of goods, as, for example, a machine or formula for the production of an article. It may, however, relate to the sale of goods or to other operations in the business

I would say that I’m a giving person and often think of others when reconciling my actions and how it may affect other people in the process.

I am also very willing to teach and show other photographers, tips and techniques on how to take photographs; or, how to improve their photography.  I do not mind doing this, and in fact, I enjoy teaching other people things about Photography that they need help with.

However, there are some techniques that I have spent many long hours, 4AM mornings, sometimes months or even years of practicing these techniques to improve my skills and utilize in my art photography.  With some of these techniques, I feel, that these techniques are more in lines with what I consider, “trade secrets” – these techniques are secrets of my trade.

If strategies of sale of goods can be a trade secret, then so can my techniques used to create certain art photographs.  I should not need to feel guilty about wanting to keep a few of these techniques, all to myself…FOR NOW.

Do you keep certain business techniques and strategies to yourself?  Are you bound, perhaps, by your company to keep secrets about production and research.  OK, then you know kind of what I’m talking about, although I’m specifically talking about photography, not the production of say, hard-disk drives.

In a recent discussion with other photographers, I mentioned that I like to share information and techniques I know about photography.  However, I said, there are some things I keep to myself.  Others (among us creatives), prefer to share everything about their skill with other photographers. For me, this is fine too. But, my personal feeling is that I need to keep a part of me, and that includes some of my photography techniques, for myself: This helps me identify “self” – Who I am!

I don’t want carbon copies of me. I prefer to share information, as much as I can, but not everything. And then, the “students” will develop a style or techniques of their own. My instruction can be a launching pad for students to forge their own directions with photography.

Trade Secrets, yes, they apply, in my opinion, to all forms of business, including those belonging to Photographers and their methods of Photography. In fact, I feel that holding a few things back can help students think and work out problems that will help them wander “out there”, and in the process, creating their own paths and experiences with Photography.

Good luck everyone, and always be open to learning and adjusting, recalculating your thinking if and when necessary.



SHELL & BUBBLES, v.3, originally uploaded by Fine-Grain.

A Still Life Photograph of a shell and bubbles as it hits a surface of water. A study of stopping motion, rendering in Black & White, and what happens when irregular subject shapes hit standing water.


Day-3 Iritis, Edit B, btl

This is what Iritis looks like.

This shot was taken on Day-3: Right now, I’m on Day-7, and it’s getting worse I think.

I’m putting this up here because I get a lot of people coming to my photography journal [ right here… ] who are seeking information about Iritis and it helps to see a good photo of what Iritis looks like, and this is it!


If your eyeball is having any of these symptoms, or if you have any of these conditions, then take it serious…"Listen" to what your eyeball is telling you (so to speak):
1) Eyeball is Feeling Painful.
2) Eyeball Feels Heavy/Sluggish.
3) If you have Ankylosing Spondylitis (like I have), or another Auto-Immune Disease.
4) If your eye is turning red (like this in the photo).
5) If your eye is VERY SENSITIVE to light.
6) If your eyesight is getting blurry or cloudy.
7) If your eye is feeling scratchy (like a sandpaper type of feeling).
8) If the affected eyeball’s pupil appears smaller than the other eyeball’s pupil.
9) If the affected eyeball is sensitive (painful) to the touch (close eyelid and gently touch around the eye).


If Iritis is left untreated, it can possibly cause Glaucoma or Blindness.

The Following is the Treatment for Iritis as I Usually Get Treatment (and this will probably vary depending on doctor and severity of Iritis):

Beginning Treatment:
1) Prednisolone Drops (4 times daily) [PRED FORTE – Prednisolone acetate 1% ]
2) Infectoflam (applied at nighttime) [NOVARTISA – FLUOROMETHOLONE 0.1% & Gentamiin 0.3% and other active ingredients ]

IF the pain continues and the Iris gets stuck (the dark pupil stays small even in dark conditions), go back to your doctor for more aggressive measures.

For me, the next step FOR TREATMENT will probably be…

1) Steroid Pills. These can and usually cause Gastritis (the rolling around on the ground in pain type of Gastritis). You may have to take something to protect your stomach when taking Steroid Pills.

2) The scariest treatment I’ve had FOR IRITIS, is a SHOT of Steroids directly into the eyeball. This is usually the quickest way that I know to start the curing process for Iritis, but it is also the most severe measure as well (that I am aware of).

Note of Caution – This is only an informational write-up on Iritis, IF you even suspect Iritis as a cause of your eyeball pain – GET TO THE DOCTOR TO SEEK OUT THE CAUSE AND GET A TREATMENT BASED ON YOUR SEVERITY OF IRITIS!


1) GO to your doctor right away! Don’t wait if you suspect Iritis!
2) Take your meds on time.
3) MUCH REST!!! Don’t use the computer (like I’m doing right now, but this is important to me also, to share info…I’ll rest soon).
4) Follow up with your doctor IF the eyeball continues to cause you pain. You may need another plan of treatment.

Hope this helps anyone who suspects Iritis as causing your eyeball pain:  I have two other entries on Iritis here at Behind the Lens – if you do a search in my blog, you should find them.   For me, this is a recurring condition, WHICH I DO NOT ENJOY!

Good Luck!

Devil Theory – New Favorite Song for Inspiration!

Inspiration of songs to get me to work on photography at a quicker pace. Well, if that is possible, and I believe it could be, then “Devil Theory” is probably the song that I will be playing a lot, to get me motivated to do some killer photographs.

Well, I have a new favorite song. Jeff Loomis has gone above and beyond with this one, a track from his solo album, “Zero Order Phase.” The song is called “Devil Theory” and it just blazes. The lead part is awesome, but what I really like is the ultra-low background / rhythm part. In the thread of the discussions on this song, it is mentioned that he has down-tuned the low string to a Bb! The low-notes sound unreal – totally awesome. The wonders of a 7-String guitar.

OK, so this isn’t totally a photo entry, but I thought I would give Jeff Loomis a few lines of credit for this amazing album, and awesome song!

This song will, indeed, be a tune played while composing new photographs – a very cool tune to inspire my creativity.

Of course inspiration is a very personal issue and different music inspires different people, but this is the genre that gets me moving and thinking.

Horsetail & Blue Sky

Horsetail & Blue Sky

I have no idea if this is really horsetail, but I don’t care, who cares, really…it looks like a horsetail, so there!

Feeling a little Grumpy, I guess!

But, just to show you what can be done with a little camera (A620) and very little post work:  Only contrast and some gamma adjustments were made in post production.

Photos concepts come from your head, not the camera – anyone can have a camera, and that does not mean they can make a photo to save themselves.  If you can conceptualize good photos before pulling the camera out, then you can use any type of camera to produce the final image (in many or most instances).  Better camera gear just means you have more options.  Little camera gear means you have to use your brains more to get cool shots!

Just to make this shot more difficult was that the wind was blowing about 20 MPH, and these weeds sway like a drunk’en sailor on the high-seas!

Uploaded by BEHIND the LENS with Nawfal Nur on 12 Jan 09, 1.03PM MYT.

ps:  With something that whips around like tall weeds, you need to find a way to control that – that is key to catching the subject without too much blur.  This shot was around 1/1600 sec, P Mode, f8, and Internal Flash maxed out at 1/500 sec.  Macro Mode.


RAGE, img6260, Edit D, bw-btl4


Photo Series: “F-DEPRESSION!”
Series Date(s): 2008 (Nov – Dec).
Creation Year: 2008


  • 3′ X 3′ WHITE FOAM CORE.
  • SUPPORT – bogen 3001 Pro Tripod, bogen 3025 head & Manfrotto #352 Ball & Socket.
  • 3kg weight.

BEFORE GETTING INTO ANY SILLINESS THAT ENSUES BELOW HERE, I did write up a VERY SERIOUS Blog Entry using this Photograph, at one of my other Photography Journals, IF you are in the MOOD for a serious look at Depression and Anxiety, then this link may help:


PHOTOGRAPHY Crew DETAILS (kind’of kidding around):

  • Art Work – Nawfal N.
  • Lighting – Nawfal N.
  • Photography – Nawfal N.
  • Art Direction – Nawfal N.
  • Site Location Scout – Nawfal N.
  • “Best Boy” (WTF! is this Job?  I see that job in the movies all the time….anyway…) – I’ll take credit for it I guess – Nawfal N.
  • Ka’BOOM Expert! – Nawfal N.
  • Post Production, PhotoImpact X3 Work – Nawfal N.
  • Model – Nawfal N.

Additional Credits:

  • Clean-up Crew – Nawfal N.
  • General Flunky Extraordinaire! – Nawfal N.
  • Assistant to Nawfal N. – ah, Nawfal N.
  • Personal Driver, Body Guard, and Weapons Expert – Nawfal N.


  • Making da’ Movie,
  • Working Concessions,
  • Selling da’ Tickets,
  • Running the Projector,
  • and’a…Making da’ Popcorn! – Nawfal N.


** This is what you call, “One-Man-Show-Productions, Incorporated!” **

Enjoy the Theme Music, by one of my favorite bands, the best band to EVER come out of IOWA!!! SLIPKNOT – “LIBERATE (MY MADNESS)”

This song seemed unquestionably appropriate for this “dark, dark, dark, photograph!”

So, CRANK UP THE STEREO! Drive your family, friends, co-workers insane, go crazy, get nude, (well, maybe not nude), AND go do some HEAD BANGING!!!!

** Form the BIGGEST MOSH-PIT OF ALL TIMES AT WORK!!!!!!! LMAOBT!!!!!!!!! **

** For the first time, you can TOTALLY SLAM YOUR BOSS!!!!!!!!!! **


Evil laughter ensues!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Light in Hand, v.2, Edit C



Light in Hand, v.2, Edit C, originally uploaded by Nawfal Nur.

Special Effects, Creative Tabletop Photography.

This type of photography takes considerable patience. You have to take several photographs of a scene, some with light and some without, and hope that the main components “play well” together in the end.

In the most basic terms, all the photographs that make up this shot, in this case, only two were used, need to be aligned precisely; and also, the layers need to be strategically worked with to get the proper amount of opacity in the correct places.

The following video clip is a track from one of my Favorite Metal Bands, SHADOWS FALL, a performance at DownLoad Festival 2007. The song is called, “The Light That Blinds,” and I thought it was kind of appropriate to accompany my photograph, with also a “Light” subject.


Alrighty Then…Enjoy…Photograph…Metal-Out…and Go F’en Crazy!!!   It’s definitely, a weird day in Mr. Nawfal’s Neighborhood!   LMAOBMFT!!!

Remember your Tripod!

Photographed by Nawfal Nur

Remember your Tripod!

You never know when the nighttime photography opportunity will arise. Keep your tripod in your car trunk.

Nighttime is my favorite time to see things for photos, but a tripod is essential…a good tripod.

Something that is more important for sharp images at nighttime, more important than high-priced glass (lenses) or a fancy camera, is a solid, heavy tripod.  A tripod that will keep your camera focusing on the same spot over long exposures.

For this shot, I used my SLIK ABLE – 300DX Tripod. It’s heavy, sturdy and easy to setup and adjust.  The center post on this tripod will also reverse for really low angle opportunities.

I also use a Bogan 3001 with a Manfrotto #352 Ball & Socket Head, but this one I usually use in my table-top studio.

So, next time you are out photographing in lowlight, throw in the tripod just in case you need it.

Good Luck!

Old Wood House at Night, v.2c, & Original

The bottom image is the original shot. The top image is the edited version. The top version is also the one the B&W image came from.

Photographed by Nawfal Nur

It is like Day & Night. Sometimes, you just have to work with the original to get something that you can be happy with.

You go out at nighttime, let’s say, and you see a scene, and it may not be ideal, or the circumstances may not be ideal, but you see potential. You grab your camera, you set it on your tripod, and you take the photograph. With limited time and working with the existing lighting, you take the shot: The “original photograph” is like the clay a potter works with to create a piece of art that is previsualized in the artist’s mind.

As a photographer and artist, you start working with the original image making the artwork come to life; it starts becoming the image you saw in your minds eye.

For me, I like this process, working with the original and then molding and shaping it until it becomes the image I saw in my minds eye, as I said, a work that I can be really happy with.

If I have a choice, I prefer to get the photograph as close to my vision as possible, with the original. However, this is not possible all the time.

This scene was photographed at around 11PM, and the only lighting was a single HPS (high pressure sodium lamp) street light, which for photographic purposes, is a very weak illumination source. Various other urban light pollution was around, but definitely not helping the photographic situation. What drew my attention to this scene was the texture of the materials in the house, the spookiness of the environment, and the possibilities I saw in my minds eye. That was enough for me to take the effort, and make the exposure.

Eggspressionism, v1-2008, Edit A

Abstract Expressionism Photography.
Egg Photography.

I’m a longtime fan of Jackson Pollock, and the Abstract Expressionism style. I’m a rather novice Abstract Expressionism painter myself, but I attempt anyway, and I love using unusual subjects to “throw” my paint, such as eggs.

I’ve only seen one Jackson Pollock work in person, and that is his “Galaxy”, owned by the Joslyn Art Museum (Omaha, NE), which is one of my favorite Pollock paintings, located at one of my favorite places, Joslyn.

I will probably cook this egg later, as it is a real egg, and that is why the 3D original will not last, but my Photography of my artwork, can last on its behalf.

Unlike much/most Abstract Expressionism work, I like a considerable amount of “black-space”. My works are also very small compared to the huge canvases used by the Abstract Expressionism Masters.

Single Light: SYSTEMS IMAGING 600-Watt with BOWENS 2’x2′ Silver Softbox & 1-Gold Reflector. Continuous Lighting, about 1-Sec Shutter Speed, at f/8.0.