Rainbow over Bet Giorgis (Church of Saint George), Lalibela, Ethiopia

Even if the weather looks hopeless, and you are standing in torrential rain, you should never give up. Something might happen with the light, and you can be rewarded with a stunning picture. In fact, the more difficult the weather, the more likely you are to see something dramatic!

After a very wet afternoon walking Lalibela in Ethiopia, leading a photography tour, some of the members wanted to give up and head back to the hotel. The skies were completely grey and overcast, the rain was coming down in torrents, and against my better judgement we gave up and got in the bus. Just five minutes from the hotel and the light changed: the last rays of the day peeked under the clouds, bathing everything in golden light. Instantly we turned around and headed to the nearest of the stone carved churches, the atmospheric Bet Giorgis, which is carved out of a stone plateau.

On arrival, we had to run: this light might only last a few minutes. There is a small hill overlooking the church, and that gave a great view of the church, the town behind and also the dark clouds. In the background it was still raining and a rainbow appeared. After less than a minute, the light started to wane.

This image took some work in post-processing though. There was too great a contrast between the sky and the foreground. I haven't carried graduated ND filters for some time, as I find that the virtual graduated filters in Adobe Lightroom offe a greater level of control. This image took just one grad over the sky, darkening the exposure by -1 stop, lowering the black point and the highlights over the sky only. I also used this virtual filter to dehaze and add a touch of saturation to make the skyand rainbow more dramatic. All in all, the processing took just a minute or so, but made the image much more striking! All in all this image took a minute of shooting, a minute of processing but a lot of waiting in the rain!

Nikon D810 @ ISO 800
Nikon 14-24 mm lens @ 14mm
seconds @ f 5.6

Words and image Steve Davey/ 2017

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Website, Images and text Steve Davey/ 1990 - 2021

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02 - Hanoi Moto Taxi

03 - Carnaval de Binche

04 - Petra Star trails

05 - Laos Alms Round

06 - Madagascar Chameleon

07 - Delhi Spice Market

08 - Lalibela Rainbow

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