“Every moment is an opportunity to capture, in that moment, something quite special.”
Kaarina Dillabough, winner of Greentouchhub’s 2017 photo contest, said this in reference to her passion for nature photography.
If you have ever been hiking or simply stared out a window at just the right moment, you know the feeling of wanting to capture the way the sun’s rays are peeking through the branches, or how water is curving around the rocks in a stream. With today’s technology, you can easily hone the craft of taking wonderful photographs of the natural world!
Dillabough advised fellow nature photographers to “Snap away, stay aware. Heighten your senses to see things that others don’t see or pay attention to. Don’t strive for perfection, but rather, be in the moment. Trust your instincts.” With this in mind, you can easily start to find the right subjects for your photographs.
Taking great nature photography is not just about buying an expensive camera or equipment.
The recent iPhones and Google pixel phones have a great camera already installed if you are not ready to invest in a professional camera just yet. Taking photos on your smartphone is actually a great way to get a feel for your personal style and to practice on a variety of subjects. If you are ready to invest in your photography, these cameras were rated some of the best for nature photography in 2018.
Besides a camera, a tripod is a good piece of inexpensive equipment to own to keep your camera steady for a clean shot. Since the piece you are shooting is an immobile landscape, a zoom lens may come in handy for some shots that require close-up detail.
Basic Photography Skills
Truly talented photographers utilize angles, shadows, and lighting to get breathtaking shots.
Lighting and composition are at the core of any good photo. Lighting is not only about ensuring there is enough light to see the photo’s subjects. Playing with shadows, highlights, and colors are also important lighting skills that set the tone and emotion of the photo.
Composition involves arranging elements of the photo to highlight the photo’s focus. Nature photography is unique because, for example, mountains are very heavy and can easily overwhelm a photo. In this case, it is the photographer’s duty to move around to get the right shot from the right angle to provoke an emotional response.
The rule of thirds is an important rule for all beginner photographers. While looking through a lens, imagine that you are breaking the image down into thirds both horizontally and vertically. This should result in nine parts, or squares. The purpose behind this is for the photo to have a focus.
When taking the photo, decide what you want to be your focal point and put it in one of your nine focal squares. The four lines that are created by breaking the image down into thirds are places that you can center your elements. The idea behind the method is that it creates balance in the photo and the viewer is more drawn to certain elements naturally. You do not always have to abide by this rule, but it is helpful to know.
Finding Natural Locations
It is important to thoroughly research your location before heading out.
Find out information, like whether the area is a tourist attraction and what the peak hours are, when sunset is, what the weather will be like, and where you can get the best lighting. Doing your homework ahead of time means that you can devote all of your time at the location to getting the perfect shots.
Here are seven apps and websites where other photographers have shared their research!
If you are planning on going deep into the forest, make sure you have thoroughly researched the area beforehand, and that you have a GPS for safety purposes.
Always remember to be a good steward when out in nature. It provides us with such beauty, and it is our responsibility to be gentle where we tread, to maintain the beauty of that area!
Photography is an art form and nature has bountiful subjects to capture. Experiment with angles, shadows, reflections, and be creative! Are you excited to start exploring?