Come Hail, Come Sleet, Come Monsoon Rain

It’s warm. I’m soaked. The rain has been unrelenting. It’s my second day in Thailand on the island of Koh Samui where I’ve flown in for a friends wedding. Everyone else has (quite sensibly) head to dryer ground in their hotels but not me. I’m tramping the muddy puddles and side roads in search of that elusive “moment”.

Fellow photographers know what I’m talking about. It’s that visual inspiration that sparked an idea for an image. The face in the crowd; the casual juxtaposition of the unusual and the mundane; the perfect light; or the setup in need of the perfect subject.

I wait as rain rivulets work their way down my back and up the sleeves of the cheap plastic poncho I purchased from one of the numerous 7eleven’s (“Sawadika”). My Canon 550D is protected within two, clear sandwich bags allowing me to adjust settings and focal length without exposing it to the elements.

I’m shooting blind. The curve in the street and the enclosing buildings prevent me from seeing traffic approach but I know…no, I hope, that if I just wait long enough, the image I want will occur.

Forty-five minutes passes as cars, trucks, bikes, pedestrians and mopeds flit by. The grouping is wrong. I was too slow. The camera was still buffering. Time after time, the frustration is building and I’m weighing up packing it in when I see the tip of their umbrella. I frame up the shot and take a series of images as they enter and then leave the frame.

I take in a short hopeful breath and review the images and there it is. The “moment”. My day is made. I stand up and stretch my cramped legs and tuck my camera back under the protection of the poncho as I head back out into the rain.

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