By Jay Martin
Whether you just like to hike with a camera in your hand or you specifically plan a photography trip, getting outside with a camera can be a fulfilling way to spend an hour or an entire day. It doesn’t have to be an expensive or complicated hobby – even most cell phones have decent cameras and many of the top models have amazing capabilities. Of course, you can also buy very specialized equipment. Bird photography, for instance, usually requires a camera and telephoto lens combination to “bring” your subject closer.
The great thing about nature photography is the abundance of potential subjects at any time of year, even something as simple as a colorful leaf on a rock. You can always find something that is worth capturing with a camera, and the more time you spend slowing down and taking pictures, the better photographer you will become. At first, you may just snap shots of what catches your eye without giving it much thought, but as you become more involved with nature photography you will start looking even closer for potential subjects – noticing things that many people never see. You’ll even become a better naturalist. Recording what you see is a wonderful way to help identify a particular plant or animal, and having spent some time with that species will allow you to remember it much better than just giving it a passing glance
Whatever subject you decide to record, spend plenty of time to get the image that you want. Don’t just walk up, snap a shot and then walk off. Look at the subject from many angles. Watch how the background, the foreground and the lighting changes with every move. Don’t be afraid of taking too many shots, especially now that we don’t have to pay for film anymore. You can always delete or throw away the ones that you don’t like. I’ve never regretted taking too many photos, but I have regretted not getting a better one.
Nature photography can enrich a normal hike or it can be a reason to get outside. Bottom line: grab a camera and go. I doubt that you’ll regret it.