Action: Try some nature photography

Photography can be a fantastic (and free) way to learn and be inspired by our natural world

Today’s action is to test out a potential new hobby – but don’t worry, you don’t have to spend lots of money of equipment; photography as a hobby can start with just your smartphone and a free photo editing app.

Of course, if you get bitten by the bug, you might want to invest in cameras and lenses, but to start with you can keep it simple, cheerful and cheap, but still get some incredible results.

Did you know that some stunning award-winning nature photographs have been simply snapped using an iPhone?

What to do

Start by setting aside some time to think about what you might want to take pictures of, for example is it plants and trees, birds, insects life or other species, and do you want to be in an urban or country environment, at day or night. Think about what interests you, as well as what might produce a great photo.

Also, think about whether you will want to share your images at all, for example by starting a photo feed on Instagram.

Once you’ve done that, it’s time to think about the equipment you could use. This can be anything from your smartphone through to high quality cameras worth a lot of money. The important thing is to keep it to what you can afford given what you want to achieve.

You’ll also want to read a little too, to get a few tips and starting points. A simple Ecosia search of (for example)  “nature photography tips” or “smartphone animal photo tips” will give you links to lots of free resources. It’s worth looking carefully at images that you like and thinking about how they were created.

Now it’s time to give it a go … maybe start in your own garden by photographing flowers, birds, leaves and bugs!

What to do with photos

If you have some particularly good photos, you could publish them to a social media feed or create a blogging website. You might want to experiment with photo editing software, altering colour tone, brightness and contrast – or perhaps even more sophisticated changes once you’ve mastered the basics. Even simply cropping a photo carefully can make a difference.

How about trying to produce 12 really, really good pictures and make a calendar for family members for Christmas? Or using an online photo publishing service to create very individual birthday and Christmas cards or gifts?

Why is this an eco-action?

It’s very easy for us to take the natural world around us for granted, and not to see the beauty that lies in some everyday places. Thinking about how to take photos means thinking about that beauty, the light, the environment, and brings it back into our minds. We can learn too about how things work.

Bee on a daisy
Click for full size pic, then zoom in!

For example, take a close look at this picture of a bee, by clicking on the small image to see the full size version:

Notice the tiny little insect on the flower as well as the bee?

And isn’t the flower a beautiful construction?

And the bee itself, did you notice how you can even see the individual hairs on its legs?

Seeing, learning and understanding more about how our natural world works is a great incentive then to look after it – and after all, that’s what taking environmentally friendly actions is all about. People who have taken the trouble to take photos, visit places where they can learn about nature, and experience the real natural world, tend to be more inclined to do things to protect it.

Take action

Think a little bit about what you could photograph, and then simply go and try it. It might be your garden, a local park, or even the few plants that you might find in your urban environment. This isn’t a technical challenge, it’s a way of encouraging you, and the people that will see and appreciate your pictures, to think about our natural world.

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