Inspiration for Spring – Go Grab That Camera!
A week or so ago, I noticed the daffodils in the garden had come out. I took it as a less than subtle hint from Mother Nature that Spring had arrived, and for me to stop my winter hibernation. No - I didn't feel bullied by Mother Nature, I felt inspired. If you don't feel that sense of excitement when Spring arrives, I hope that I can inspire you. Just wait for that first lovely day, grab your camera and go for a walk. Look at your surroundings and take pictures of everything that inspires you. You don't have to go far. All but one of the pictures in this post were taken within 1 mile from my house.
The images I'm sharing here were all taken on Spring walks. I had no idea what I was going to photograph when I went out - but that was part of the fun! You'll see lots of things which obviously say "Spring", but you'll also see some things which will surprise you. The Robin here I saw on a Spring walk in a local wood. I've never been as close to one of these guys in our Winter or Christmas, even though custom tells us Robins are a Winter bird. The limit is your imagination - and your imagination will be inspired by Nature.
When you're out on your Spring walk an easy target is the flowers which are starting to emerge as new life is breaking through and being born. Flowers in particular are easy to photograph well - you just need to know how. Unlike Robins or other fauna, they don't tend to run or fly away! You do have to be careful of them blowing in the wind - so keep an eye on your shutter speed. A fast shutter speed will compensate for the windiest of days! This pink flower was taken on the same day as the robin above in the same little wood. In the Spring this place becomes covered in rhododendrons. First I got myself to the same height as the flower, then I looked to find a background which wasn't too cluttered - moving around the flower to find the right angle to shoot from. I picked a wide aperture to isolate the flower from the background even more, and then and shot. Voila.
On the same walk I happened upon this scene. At a brief glance it could be Autumn, except the flowers are coming through and there is blossom on the trees. I'm not a massive landscape person, but this scene really inspired me - the enthusiasm of the chap looking into the crystal clear water. This shot was composed using the rule of thirds, and a narrow aperture was used - around f16 - to make sure that all was in focus.
Having just bought myself a new lens I was inspired by a Spring day to take myself to the local duck pond, where I'd heard that there were new ducklings. This little guy can only have been a couple of days old. It was taken on a telephoto lens, with a wide aperture to draw the eye away from the background and onto the duckling. Obviously it was framed with the clear reflection in mind.
The thing that surprised me that day was that I'd assumed the only thing which would inspire me would be the ducklings. Looking through my lens at the adult ducks and geese I became fascinated by their personalities and expressions.
With photography you can't get the photograph if you're not there, or if you don't have your camera with you. This is why we tend to make sure we have at least some kind of camera with us everywhere we go - even if it's just a mobile / cell 'phone. You never know when fascination or inspiration will strike.This guy to the left was a total poser. He seems to be smiling and I love the texture on his beak. It's taken using a similar technique to the flower above. I've moved myself to an angle where there is no clutter in the background, and have used a wide aperture to blur that background to draw the eye even more to the duck.
Lastly if anything is going to say Spring, it's lambs, and I think this little guy is adorable. (I'm a sucker for anything with 4 legs...). I didn't want this guy to be too much out of context, and because he is all white I thought it would be nice to have the contrast of color and texture in the rest of the picture. That's why I haven't isolated him by a blurred background (what we call the "bokeh" effect) which is used with the duck above. I loved the texture of the log behind the lamb, so I wanted it sharp in my frame. I wanted a hint that the lamb's parents were in the background, but I still wanted the focus be on the lamb. I therefore used an aperture which allowed the lamb and the log to be in focus, but didn't TOTALLY blur out the adult sheep in the background. Your eye isn't drawn to the adult sheep - but the shape of the adult sheep in the background is just recognizable.
So now it's over to you! Why not go and grab your camera and see what pictures you can get this Spring? Don't forget to enjoy yourself. Photography is all about experimenting. If you like the look of something, shoot it in several different ways and see what happens. Also try moving around and looking through the viewfinder for your shot, rather than just using your naked eye. The framing of the camera will help you see what is going to look good through the lens, and what is not.