Dealing with Weather Challenges: Pollen

April 10, 2018  •  Leave a Comment



No matter who we are or what we do, we all have to deal with the weather. It is an inescapable force, even when you work in a cozy studio. Weather affects our daily lives, which is why the morning news has weather reports every 10 minutes! As photographers, how we deal with the weather, and use it to our advantage, can define our work and our attitude.





Though not a weather phenomenon, pollen is an environmental consideration, especially in regions with lots of pine trees. Their yellow-green pollen covers everything. I have even seen it raining out of the trees and swirling through the air. It gets into cars and houses, covers shoes and lawn furniture. It is pervasive and can be a real consideration when photographing anything outside. Luckily, "pollen season" does not last too long!


For those of you who do not truly understand the power of pollen, here are a couple of examples of pollen everywhere, and yes, all that yellow stuff is pine pollen:

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_MAS9033_MAS9033 _MAS9046_MAS9046




In the spring, we are entranced by the new flowers, by life coming back to the world. But, like everything else, the flowers get covered in pollen. The question becomes, how do you cope with this annoyance? One method is to simply avoid it. Try working on some indoor projects. Buy flowers and set up a studio on your kitchen table. Though there will still be pollen around, it will be greatly reduced in a more controlled environment. 


Another method, wait for the rain. Try shooting during or right after a rain. The rain will knock the pollen out of the air and wash it off of flowers, sidewalks, etc. A rainy April is usually quite desirable as it keeps the pollen at bay, somewhat. If rain is not in the forecast, break out the water hose and make your own rain shower. Wash the pollen off the flowers and get to shooting.


My favorite method is this: work with the pollen. Make it your subject and play around. Find pattern in the pollen. Pollen floating on water can often look like satellite images. It can make for some really interesting abstracts.


_MAS9028_MAS9028 _MAS9169_MAS9169 _MAS9101_MAS9101 _MAS9108_MAS9108

There is one more consideration when dealing with lots of pollen. It gets all over you camera equipment. Try to avoid changing lenses outside during the worst of pollen season. You don't want that yellow junk on your camera sensor. After shooting, check your lenses and filters and clean them with a microfiber cloth. You will also want to wipe down the outside of your camera and your tripod, just to keep everything clean. Make sure to keep your camera bag closed so that pollen is not raining down inside of it. 


With all that being said, get out there and enjoy the spring!




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