How To Take Awesome Spring Photos this Season
– by Gary Marks
Have you ever went for a Great Spring Hike and snapped a bazillion photos only to be disappointed when you get home and viewed them?
Do you end up showing people these photos and saying something like, “You had to be there.”
You’re not alone, but over the years I’ve learned a few simple tricks to turn those “had to be there” photos into ones that will have friends wondering when you became a professional photographer.
So what follows is a few of those tips that will lead you on the journey of How to Take Better Spring Photos.
1. Stop Pressing the Clicker
Wow! This can be a hard one especially in the land of digital cameras. With the tossing out of film (thank goodness) our society has become a nation of “shutter pushers”.
I know when I first started (silently I still am a shutter pusher on some occasions) I would joyously click away, not really taking the time to understand why I was taking a photo (looks cool, CLICK).
When I got home and looked at all those photos on a larger monitor (Sigh), something was off. It wasn’t exactly the way I remembered it.
2. Slow Down
This may well be the most important trick of all. After you stop pressing the clicker every few seconds, force yourself to slow down (How Slow? Go one stage slower than you think you should go).
Don’t walk around with blinders on. Carefully observe your surroundings and scan the area to determine why you want to take a photo of the area.
Ask yourself, “Why did this certain area strike my interest?”. Once you do this you can start to pinpoint and focus on particular areas.
3. Get Closer
I’ve always loved one of Edward Abbey’s saying:
- …You can’t see anything from a car; you’ve got to get out of the *?!?* contraption and walk, better yet craw, on hand and knees,…
Have you noticed that little flower icon on your camera? Use it!
This allows the lens to focus closer and allows you to take remarkable close-ups of flowers (easy to get great photos), bugs (gotta be fast), rocks (nice, they don’t move a whole lot).
I’ve found myself laying in the middle of the trail (Please, don’t step on me if you see me out), trying to get low and close.
This technique will distort your normal view and open up a whole different world of photography.
4. Back & Fore the Key
Foreground and Background two key concepts of many great photos, but what are they?
- Foreground: The closest subject to the front of the camera
- Background: The furthest subject from front of the camera
Find something interesting to put in the foreground. Rocks, flowers, trail paths, etc. This item will usually be about 3 feet away from the camera.
When you find a good foreground look for something interesting to draw your eye to the background. Streams, Lines, Bluffs, waterfalls, etc.
This technique can and should be used in reverse. Find a great background, then find a foreground that “clicks”.
If you can master this one technique you will see a significant improvement in your photos.
5. Going for Thirds
Awh, the Rule of Thirds. If you observe many of the great nature photographs in the world, the rule of thirds will come up time and time again.
But what is the Rule of Thirds?
- If you take a photo and draw two equally spaced horizontal and two equally spaced vertical lines, you end up with a grid. The keys elements of photo should end up on one of the intersections between the horizontal and the vertical lines.
Sounds complicated? No, not really.
Take a look at a photo below and notice where the main subject is situated.
The cave opening lies off to the lower-right of center, which allows for a more engaging photo, because it gives your eye more room to explore the surroundings. Put it in the center and it looses some of the energy.
Can’t you imagine yourself walking into this cave? That’s the power of a good photograph.
6. You Know What?
You know the best thing about taking spring photographs?
It’s just a great time to be outside, inhaling the new growth of the forest and stretching out tired muscles from a long winters rest.
Sometimes you just want to do your own thing and you want to be a “clicker”. Go ahead. There really are no rules, especially when you outside just enjoying the simple act of photography.
Having a camera in you hand can be a stress-reliever. Photography can make you feel creative and take you out of your everyday grind and wake up senses that have long been dormant.
So get out in the Shawnee Hills and Take Your Best Spring Photos!
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