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Nature Photography Tips - Begin in Your Own Backyard
Subjects for Nature Pictures Are All Around You
Tips on Nature Photography
So, you want to take some beautiful nature pictures, but you are just a beginner and you don't really know what would make good subjects or how to get those really great shots. You don't have to go very far to find subjects for nature photography. I have found many, many subjects to photograph right in my own backyard. No matter what area you live in there is always a host of subjects to photograph. Whether you live in an arid area with desert and cactus or have flowerbeds, trees, and wildflowers. There is always an abundance of subjects to photograph. Here are a few nature photography tips for beginners.
Birds Are One of My Favorite Nature Photography SubjectsClick thumbnail to view full-size
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- Backyard Bird Photography - Tips for Beginners
Bird photography is one of the favorite genres of nature photographers. Here are some tips for beginners on how to take great bird pictures right in your own backyard.
One of the first things people think of when taking nature photography are birds. Birds are always a great subject and you can find them anywhere! Birds come in all shapes, sizes and colors. If you have a bird feeder or a hummingbird feeder at your house, you should have plenty of subjects to photograph. If possible, set your bird feeder up near a window in your house. I have taken some really good pictures through my front windows.
Sometimes leaves and tree branches can get in the way of a good shot. Here is a little trick I use to get a clear shot. I walked around and found a long dead tree branch and removed all the old dead leaves and small branches. I left a branch on the end for the birds to land on. The branch was almost as tall as the height of the bird feeder. Then I leaned the branch against the tree near the bird feeder, with the branch at the top. This gives the birds a branch to sit on, without all the leaves in the way, while they are waiting their turn at the bird feeder. So now I can get a good, unobstructed shot of the birds.
Inside or outside, a tripod is a great item to use if you can, but it you don’t have one, try to hold the camera as still as possible. Depending on the type of camera you are using you may want to brace your elbows on something sturdy to reduce camera shake. Using a zoom lens is going to give you your best shots. Don't try to zoom in to close, you want to get some pictures of the birds as they are flying to the feeder too. You can always crop the picture if you need to. Try to pre-focus your camera on a limb or branch where the birds tend to land before they actually go to the bird feeder. If you have the type of camera that can take pictures in “bursts”, use this setting. You may get some pictures of the birds as they are in flight, which is always a great shot! Use your flash or a high speed on your camera to reduce any motion blur. Now be a little patient and take lots of pictures. You may be surprised at some of the good shots you will get!
Flowers are Always Popular Nature Photography SubjectsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Another favorite subject for nature photographers is flowers. Wildflowers or planted flowers in your flower gardencan make beautiful nature photography subjects. Don’t limit your pictures to the entire flower-bedor the field of flowers, get in close too. Even if you have taken pictures of the flower previously, experiment and try something new. Stand on top of something and shoot down on the flower, or just the opposite, get down low and shoot up from the bottom. Different times of the day can really change the image. Try some pictures early of a morning, then mid-day and late afternoon. You may be surprised how the different lighting will change the effects of the picture.
Taking pictures of flowers right after a rain or with dew on the petals is always a wonderful idea. Raindrops on the petals can make for an amazing picture. You can even take a spray bottle and spray your flower lightly with the water for a great shot. Be sure to look for butterflies or perhaps ladybugs on your flowers. Try zooming in a little tighter than usual, as on this Bearded Iris, you may find some interesting shapes or textures.
Wildlife is Always An Interesting SubjectClick thumbnail to view full-size
Everyone has some type of wildlife in their backyard, maybe its rabbits, squirrels or the occasional deer. Maybe you live in an arid area and your wildlife is lizards and jack rabbits. They are all interesting and beautiful members of nature. I like to get up just as the sun is coming up and sit outside with a cup of coffee and just watch the “critters”. Sometimes you really don’t know what you might find until you just go outside and look around. Again, a telephoto or zoom lens is a great asset. A good zoom lens is going to give you more flexibility.
If you have a bird feeder, you probably have squirrels raiding it! We had to find a way to squirrel proof our feeder as they were eating all the bird food. Maybe there are rabbits munching on your garden or flowerbed. Nature photography can also be lizards or even snakes can be beautiful, but do be careful there!
Get outside early, before it gets too hot. The animals are easier to find early of a morning or late of an afternoon, when the weather is cooler. Animals usually take the same route as they go out to find food. The deer cross our pasture at the same place nearly every time. The turkey usually use the same path as well. Remember where you have seen the wildlife in your area and set up ahead of time. For more detailed information on wildlife photography you may find "5 Wildlife Photography Tips for Beginners" helpful.
Insects Make Interesting Subjects TooClick thumbnail to view full-size
Insects and Bugs
Don’t’ forget the smaller members of nature. Look in the grass or under the leaves of your flowers, there maybe some interesting little insects hiding under there. Insects and bugs can me interesting subjects to photograph. Whether they may be spiders, ladybugs or grasshoppers, there are usually plenty of little visitors in your backyard. Of course, butterflies always make beautiful photography subjects, but so can spiders and their wonderfully woven webs. I have taken a spray bottle and lightly sprayed water on a spider web to get a very beautiful picture. Insects and bugs are going to be much easier to photograph as they usually are going to be sitting still. Zoom in on them as much as possible, get really up close and personal! While watering one of my flowerbeds, a praying mantis ran out from under some flowers. I don’t think he much liked the early morning shower he just got.
What are your favorite things in nature to photograph?
Take your camera and get outside! Train your eyes to really see what is there. Challenge yourself to learn something new by re-visiting the old. Remember, your backyard has a host of subjects. Whether flowers, birds, or bugs, using these tips, you can take some great nature photography, right in your own backyard!
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