How to photograph nature?

Photography is one of the reasons to get out into the countryside and fully enjoy the summer.

The BBC offers a selection of tips on how to improve your pictures of plants and animals. They are intended primarily for beginners — the owners of smartphones and «soap boxes», but some tips may come in handy and more advanced photographers.


Before you go to nature, stop and think: what is your goal?

  • Choose a shooting theme and think about how you can implement it. Think different ways. Check out what events in the lap of nature are happening near you, perhaps this will inspire you to choose a topic.
  • Read the instructions! It sounds corny, but from it you can learn an incredible amount of things about your camera and the principles of photography.
  • Look at the weather forecast and select the appropriate outfit (raincoat or sunscreen, camera protection from rain or hoods).
  • Do you have a spyglass or binoculars? If so, take them with you.
  • Grab a tripod, if any. A picture taken with trembling hands will be blurry — but you don’t want it.
  • Be patient. Nature is a changeable and unstable thing; one can hunt for a successful shot for a long time. So put something from the food in your backpack.
  • When photographing, place the camera on the same level as the subject. The best perspective is one on one.
  • Show your photos to friends and like-minded people, listen to their opinion. This will help you understand what you did right and what didn’t.

Composition: rule of thirds and guide lines

The easiest way to enhance your photos is with the right composition. Roughly speaking, this is how the various objects are located in the frame and how the eye moves between them.

You may have already heard of the “rule of thirds” — this is a very common and simple compositional principle.

Outline the photo into nine imaginary parts — three vertical and three horizontal lines. In many cameras there is even a corresponding option — a grid on the screen.

If you place an object or its important details along these lines, the frame will look nicer. And the points of intersection of lines — and in general an ideal place. As an example — a bumblebee in the photo of Ruth Hart.

Try these tips and your photos will improve immediately. Of course, the rules can be violated, and the rule of thirds is no exception. But first you need to study and fix it, and only then look for a reason to violate it.

Another assistant to the novice photographer is the guidance lines along which the viewer’s eye moves from the edge of the frame to the center of the composition.

Where these lines begin is not so important. The wings of the insect are perfectly suitable in this capacity, as in the photo of Eddie Nurcombe: the wings of a dragonfly seem to point to her head.

Get closer to your subject: legs, zoom and remote control

A close-up allows you to capture the essence of the subject and is a very good format for shooting nature. You can take a similar picture in several ways.

The first and most obvious is to get as close to the object as possible. So you get a large image and a rich background of details.

But in nature this is not always possible, because your goal can simply fly away, run away or swim away when you try to approach it.Choose a theme and work with it until you run out … the subject should be something that you really love or hateDorothea Lange

Therefore, the next way is to zoom. If you have a digital SLR camera, you can install a special lens, if it is compact, use the optical zoom function. But if this is not enough, what can be done?

This is where binoculars come in handy. If you attach the lens to one of the glasses, the camera will be able to focus on the desired object.

This, of course, is not the same as the telephoto lens of a SLR camera, but much better than digital zoom or its complete absence.

And if you turn the binoculars over, you can use it as a macro lens.

The last and more advanced method is to release the shutter at a distance. To do this, there are remote controls for the camera. You need to position the camera, move away, wait for the animal or bird to get into the frame, and then press the button on the remote control.

Be prepared for the fact that you will have to make more than one attempt, but the full shooting will give you unique shots.

Light — use conditions to the maximum

You may have heard of the Golden Hour for filming nature. Some of the photographers generally believe that this is the only suitable time for work.

It’s about the last hour of sunset — or a little longer in winter. At this time, the sun’s rays have to travel a long way in the atmosphere, which makes them golden. In addition, objects are highlighted from the side — this creates good shadows and texture of the photo.Beauty can be seen in anything. The ability to see and correctly present beauty is what distinguishes an amateur from a photographerMatt Hardy

But what can be done at another time?

Try to avoid those few hours in the middle of the day when the sun is high. At this time, your camera will not be able to cope with the contrast of brightly lit spots and dark shadows. In addition, the plant or animal that you are shooting will be lit from above that will not decorate it.

And what to do on a cloudy day when there is no sun?

Do not worry, all is not lost. Clouds can help the photographer because it is a huge natural diffuser that scatters light, making it soft and even. And some photos will only benefit from this.

A closeup of wildflowers or forest landscapes with long exposures usually works better in a dark sky, because such conditions help get rid of too light or dark areas in the picture.

Equipment: a lot of ideas are better than a lot of equipment

Tripod. If you have it — very good (and stable, the better). If not, consider getting one.

But if you still find yourself in a field without a tripod, and you need it, take a look around and think about how to replace it. Is there any wall, stone, fence or stump nearby that you can place the camera on?If your photos are not good enough, then you have not come close enoughRobert Capa

Another trick is to carry a bag with a special filler. It will help you align the camera or tilt it at the right angle: just lay it on an uneven surface, smooth it, and put the camera on top.

If you are shooting a landscape, you can use the timer to make the camera even more stable. Install the camera and select the delayed capture function. Thus, you will get rid of any movement at the moment of pressing the button and get clear pictures.

Lens. Compact cameras usually have different shooting modes, so make sure you choose the right one.

Macro photography (usually indicated by a flower) is intended for photographing small objects — insects or flowers. And shooting landscapes is better in landscape mode (the mark is mountains): it has a wider viewing angle.

Try not to use digital zoom, this will degrade the quality of pictures.

Filters On a bright day, photos can be improved by holding sunglasses in front of the lens of a smartphone or soap box.

As in any field, if you want to shoot better, you need to practice. Fortunately, the wildlife photographer has many sources of inspiration!

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