The Springtime, or the time when the axis of the Earth is increasing its tilt relative to the Sun, is an excellent time to practice photography. Flowers are blooming, days are longer, and people come out of their hibernating patterns.
I have no doubt some of you reading this right now keep telling yourselves “I should dust off the camera and get out there”. That’s always the hardest part, isn’t it… Just grab that sucker by its grips and run out the door, don’t even look back to see if you locked the door (besides, you’ve got all the important stuff right there in your hands… unless you have small children, you should probably go make sure the door was locked).
Other than the earth increasing its tilt in relation to the Sun, Springtime also means warmer weather and blooming flowers. What was brown or grey before begins to turn green and colorful… Unless you are color-blind, then what was gray before will be different shades of gray… But hey, it is still warmer!
If your camera has sat idle for some time then you’ll want to start with a few basics. Charge your batteries, make sure the time is correct in your camera, and update your copyright information with the new year.
Something like 2008-2014 YourNameHere should work
Landscape astrophotography with the Nikon Df, Nikon 16-35mm lens, and ISO 6400, 30 sec, f/4.
This sounds obvious but check your settings to make sure you didn’t leave the ISO at 6400 or the aperture at f4 (the winter is a great time to do landscape astrophotography and those were the settings on my camera when I pulled it out of its short hibernation). Every photographer, no matter how seasoned, has experienced the palm-to-face where they forget to reset their settings and spend the day shooting with less than ideal ISO or what have you.
Watch The Weather
In some parts of the world, like the Eastern United States, the weather can be unpredictable. Always check the weather before you venture far from home with your expensive camera gear, especially if you don’t have a way to protect it in a downpour.
Withe the weather fluctuations in the Spring you’ll get morning or evening fog which is great for photography opportunities. You’ll want to get up before the sun rises and get to where you want to photograph if you want to catch an optimum amount of fog. Getting there early will ensure you have time to let your camera and lens adjust to the change in temperature as well, nothing quite as bad as lens fog taking 20 minutes to clear of your lens.
When entering and leaving areas with varying temperatures it’s best to leave your lens attached to your camera or you risk condensation building up inside of your camera.
Don’t fall victim to “good weather bias” where you only take photographs in perfect conditions. You risk missing some really dynamic shots. Ominous clouds make for a great photograph so long as you don’t get struck by lighting… Unless you catch that on camera as well, I’m pretty sure that would go viral.
What To Look For
Sasquatch. If your purpose is to capture “Spring” on film (digital or analog) then you’ll want to think about what Spring means to you. Budding flowers? Fields of lush green? Blankets of wild flowers in the meadow? Any of those ideas would make for a great image depicting what Spring is.
Macro photography is hugely popular in the Spring as you have gross bugs coming out of whatever they hatch from (the devil?), new flowers blooming, condensation on said flowers, and a bunch of other things that look great through a macro lens.
Tip: If you head out with your macro lens why not take a spray bottle with water, you can spray a flower and create the illusion that it has morning dew (not Mountain Dew… that is like catnip to bees) on it.
When envisioning what your result will look like be sure to include supporting compositional elements just like you would in any other type of photography. See a beautiful flower? Position it, or the interesting part of it, in a way that takes advantage of the rule of thirds.
If you want to get batter at taking advantage of the different composition builders I’d recommend making a game of it. Try to fit as many composition builders as you can into one image, framing, leading lines, reflections, etc.. You can check out various composition tips here.
It’s helpful to think about what you’d like to photograph before you go out with your camera but it’s important to maintain an open mind. If you go out intending to find and photograph one single subject or type of subject you risk missing shots that are right beneath your feet (literally, like the image above).
Everyone’s creative process is different but if you’re having trouble with keeping an open mind may I suggest not thinking about what you will photograph at all before you head out. Just observe your surroundings and look for things that catch your eye. Remember to analyze what it is exactly about a scene that catches your eye so you can try to isolate or strengthen it with compositional elements (like leading lines) when you take the shot.
Along with the change in weather the Springtime gives us a great baseline for the coming years. Evaluate your photography regularly and compare it with previous years. Look for areas you’ve improved and areas you’d like to focus on in the coming year.
When you capture something great, and you will, be sure to revisit PhotolisticLife and share it with us by using the Submit an Article link at the top of the page or visit our Facebook page and share with us there. Good luck.