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Nature Photography Using a Nikon Coolpix Camera

Updated on November 7, 2014
Dove sitting on the back fence
Dove sitting on the back fence | Source

Nature Photography

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Let's Take a Stroll and Photograph Nature

As the sun has been shining and the weather warm enough not to be bundled in layers, I thought it a perfect day to take the dog and camera out for a walk. There's lots going on in my little suburban part of the world. Front yard gardens are beginning to shake their Winter starkness, the sky is blue with puffy white clouds, and the small city wildlife is staking out its territory for mating season.

You might be wondering where these photographs were taken. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area in a small community. In my part area of California Spring starts showing up in January. It gets delayed by February rains. Then, makes another appearance in March. It can either be wet, foggy, or warm until May, depending on Mother Nature's mood.

This is the suburbs. A nice little neighborhood with hills in the distance. Even though there is no forest or creek bordering us, there are little pockets of nature all around.

I'm going to take you on a tour of the things we saw on our walk. I got some exercise and burned some energy from my 10 pound Jack Russell. (And, boy, does she need it!) If you see a slight shadow, that's Misha. She sometimes thinks she should be in all the photos.

The Always Beautiful - California Poppy

Brilliant orange California Poppy
Brilliant orange California Poppy | Source

The California Poppy is one of my favorite flowers. They are native to this area and grow wild all on their own. They are the official state flower for California.

They can be a bit like weeds springing up where you don't necessarily want them. But, they are a hardy plant and survive our feast or famine rainy seasons. It's stunning to see a field blooming with these simple, vibrant orange flowers!

The petals come in variety of colors. Usually in this area you see yellow or orange. When you come upon a bunch of them the color is brilliant. The leaves remind me a bit of carrot tops. More spindly than leafy.

Simplicity of a Fallen Leaf

A hydrangea leaf fallen off the branch
A hydrangea leaf fallen off the branch | Source

These are the Features

This is a lightweight digital camera with a lot of features:

  • 2.7 inch LCD monitor
  • Easy to navigate menus
  • Several different lens modes (flowers, pets, sunsets, etc.)
  • 6x Optical zoom lens
  • HD videos
  • Special filters like B&W and Sepia
  • Weighs 4.6 ounces

Nikon COOLPIX S3300 16 MP Digital Camera with 6x Zoom NIKKOR Glass Lens and 2.7-inch LCD (Silver) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Nikon COOLPIX S3300 16 MP Digital Camera with 6x Zoom NIKKOR Glass Lens and 2.7-inch LCD (Silver) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

A full function digital camera that also takes video. It's easy to take pictures in Auto Mode and it has advanced options to give you more control over your photographs.

It comes with a variety of lens settings so you can choose what's best for each situation.

The viewer screen is large enough to display photos and change settings without eye strain. It's lightweight, too.

I've very pleased with the quality of the photographs taken with the S3300. (All photographs on this page have been taken with this camera.)


Daffodils are a Fleeting Sight

The neighbor's daffodils blooming
The neighbor's daffodils blooming | Source

I noticed that my neighbor has planted a little area of his lawn with daffodils. I knew I'd have to get my camera and take a few shots. Aren't they cheery? Nothing says Springtime like a bunch of daffodils.

Did you know that various Cancer societies sponsor Daffodils Days in Spring? The daffodil is seen as a symbol of renewal. Members sell bunches of the flowers and the money goes towards whichever cancer group they represent. The American Cancer Society has more information about Daffodil Days on its website.

Hey, Ho! What's this? - Can You Guess?

An animal caught sleeping in the tree
An animal caught sleeping in the tree | Source

What is sleeping in the tree?

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Sleeping Critter

I am not usually out in the backyard before 9 am. I tend to miss most of the early morning goings on. Sun is way above the horizon by time I get out of bed.

II was really surprised to find this creature sleeping up in our neighbor's tree. He must have needed a nap really bad. He was there for a half hour after I spotted him. Then, the branch was empty. Hope he didn't fall out of bed!

Learn How to Take Better Photos of Flowers

You'd be surprised how many blurry photos I get before I get one good one. It isn't always easy getting the close up lens right.

MyGardenSchool presents an online tutorial on photography. Week one explains how to take the best photos of flowers. You'll be surprised at how your photography improves with just a couple adjustments.

A New Cycle Begins - The Maple Tree Renewed

Leaves Starting to Unfurl

This Maple Tree has looked pretty scrappy the last couple of months. It lost all it's leaves in a wind and rainstorm in December and has show no signs of life since.

Then, last week I noticed what looked like little bumps poking out of the branches. Sure enough, this week there are leaves on every branch just about ready roll out. Soon there will be lush, green leaves on every stem.

Can you see the difference? - Same flower, two different lenses

Testing Two Different Camera Lenses

My camera has different settings. Sometimes Auto Mode works perfect. Other times the specific setting is needed. When you have so many options, it is sometimes difficult to decide what to use. For my test, I narrowed it down to two settings: Auto Mode and Flower Mode.

In the first example of the clover flower, I used Auto Mode. The flower is clear, but not vibrant. The petals came out as a pale, washed out yellow.

In the second example, I used Flower Mode. The color is crisp and bright, yet the flower seems slightly fuzzy, almost watercolor. It zooms in so that might be why the image is less defined.

I think it's a matter of preference as to which is best. In my mind, they both are equally nice, but slightly flawed. But, I do like the richer color of the second example.

Could you tell the difference? It's really very slight.

Hens and Chicks - The Succulent Kind

Our neighbor has a water garden that has these wonderful succulents. When I saw them last year they were small, fist sized, and tightly closed. But, this year they are huge and wide open. They look like mutant artichokes, don't they?

I asked around and found out these are called "Hens and Chicks". Isn't that a funny name for a plant?

From My Own Yard - A White Rose

White rose with light shining through the petals
White rose with light shining through the petals | Source

These roses grow in my own yard. And, I have nothing to do with them! I'm a black thumb when it comes to gardening. This is my Mom's territory.

I'm not sure of the variety. They bloom most of the year, though they will start to go crazy in a couple of weeks as it gets warmer. The branches will be heavy with flowers.

I like taking photographs of these roses. The sunlight seems to illuminate them. It's difficult to get a bad shot.

The Sky is on Fire - An Awesome Sunset

A sunset in rich golden brown and orange hues
A sunset in rich golden brown and orange hues | Source

We end our stroll with Mother Nature's artwork. This was the sunset we were greeted to in the early evening hours.

This was just after a light rain. The sky was a golden color. The neighbor's palm tree makes it seem almost tropical right here in the middle of suburbia.

Soon, the sunsets will give way to pinks, reds, and purples. For now, we have the browns and golds of the March evening sky.

Brush up on Your Nature Photography Skills

I'm an amateur at best. I point, click, and hope the camera knows what it is doing. Sometimes I change the lens setting or use the zoom lens. Technology has come a long way and it isn't too difficult to create a reasonable decent nature photo.

I've taken one photography class in my life, so I know there is more to it than my simple methods. I'd like to learn how to really make this camera (or any other) perform.

There are many guides designed to help novices like me get the most of out of their digital cameras.

I hope you enjoyed our stroll and the photographs I took along the way!

© 2013 Melody Lassalle

Thanks for joining me!

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    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 3 years ago from California

      LisaDH, thank you for your comment! What a lovely sentiment! It is like bringing a piece of nature back home.

    • LisaDH profile image

      LisaDH 3 years ago

      I love photographing nature. It's like bringing a piece of nature back into your house so you can enjoy it again and again.

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 5 years ago from UK

      Beautiful photographs, nothing I like better than a walk taking photos as I go.

      I have just bought a Fuji Finepix because it was on offer at half price - as you say you gotta take these opportunities. Mine is 12Mp with 10X zoom. Difficult to use without a tripod at higher than 4-5X tho' even with the anti-shake feature built in.

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 5 years ago from California

      @AlleyCatLane: Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 5 years ago

      I enjoyed your beaitiful photos as well as your commentary. Your enthusiasm shows.