At the End of the Rainbow

Thunderstorms in Florida in the summer is a daily occurrence. Nothing unusual. This storm was a little bigger than usual as there were flood warnings throughout town. Just before sunset, however, it let up a little bit, enough for the sun to peak through before setting. And then this magic happened…

Rainbow after the storm

Rainbow after the storm. Nikon D600 with Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G AF-S lens @ 14mm focal length, 1/80 sec, f/4.0, iso 200.

Read on to see how I post-processed the raw image to get this final result…


After dinner (though not immediately right after), I was taking a dip in the pool while the rain was still coming down as a drizzle. After just a few minutes of my being in the pool, the evening sun peeked through the storm clouds low on the horizon and rendered the eastern sky a pretty orange glow. “Hmmm”, I thought to myself. I wonder if the light drizzle would render a rainbow. I turn around and looked east. Voila! There is the rainbow. I contemplated whether I should immediately get out of pool and grab my camera (as opposed to finishing up my swim before doing so). After a few seconds of hesitation, I got out, dried myself, and mounted the Nikon 14-24mm ultra wide angle lens on my Nikon D600 DSLR and went out to my front yard and began to snap away in the light drizzle. I took care not to get the front element of my lens too wet. The drizzle was not a problem with my camera and lens, as the D600 DSLR body has dust and moisture seals, as is the fully gasketed professional grade Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G AF-S lens.

Caution: Take care when shooting the rain with consumer DSLR bodies and lenses, as they do not include the same level of dust and weather seals and could result in premature failure.

In hindsight, I am very glad I took the opportunity, because in less than five minutes, the sun was lost behind the storm clouds again.

Tip: Never pass up a “Kodak moment”. They don’t always come, but when they do, they would surely go, and go quickly. Be prepared and seize the moment.

Post Production with Lightroom

"Rainbow after the storm" Lightroom post processing

“Rainbow after the storm” Lightroom post processing

I usually take pictures in raw format in order to get the most post processing flexibility from my images. In Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3, I used these settings:

  • temp (white balance) = 3954 (lowered from 4650, to get bluer sky)
  • exposure = 0 (unchanged)
  • fill light = 40 (from 0, to get more shadow details)
  • brightness = +50 (LR default)
  • contrast = +25 (LR default)
  • saturation = +40 (get to richer colors)
Basically, I used Lightroom to bring out the beauty of the colorful rainbow and details in the picture particularly in the darker areas of the image. I achieved this by tweaking the white balance (temp setting) to get a bluer sky and increased the saturation to get a more colorful rainbow. I increased fill light to bring out the shadow details. For comparison, here is the “before image” prior to processing.
Rainbow after the storm, original.

Rainbow after the storm, original.

Kind of gray and drabby, huh?

Finally, when I generate the JPEG image for exporting, I always choose the resolution of the target image (in this case 1000 pixels on the long side for this blog), choose 85% quality and sharpen for it the screen.

[(Ô] HtL | like us on facebook

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