June 15 is fast approaching, the 5th National Nature Photography Day. The challenge is to use this day to raise awareness, and take intentional photographs. The North American Nature Photography Association has some suggestions for celebrating the day:
There are dozens of ways, including these:
- Pick a special spot to photograph a sunrise or sunset. Then plan to repeat that visit at the same time and location every Nature Photography Day.
- If you teach, encourage your students to pick a subject they haven't yet photographed and arrange to shoot on June 15.
- Visit a gallery or museum exhibit of nature photographs. Or start a gallery at home-by displaying your images of plants, animals, and natural scenes.
- Invite friends and neighbors to join you on a nature adventure at a garden, trail, or even your own backyard. Find inspiration and beauty close by.
- Select a subject in nature that is small or common and thus easily overlooked. Then photograph it in a way to make the ordinary seem extraordinary.
- Take your kids and grand-kids on a nature trek and give them a single-use camera to use. Then print some of their photos and present them, in a mat or frame, to those young photographers.
- Pick something that you've never photographed before, and then make plans to photograph that subject or scene every June 15.
- Look for and photograph something that detracts from the beauty in nature - images that show how human beings sometimes adversely affect our environment.
- Finally, ask yourself how your images can help to bring positive changes to your world!
________________________________________________________If this is the case, what are we going to do about taking a picture of this "mess" before us? We move back and forth, change the angle and distance between ourselves and our subject. We zoom in. We zoom out. What is the story to tell/show? Does everything need to be in focus? Only part of it? With digital we can play with our story quite a bit, can't we? We can take a number of shots until we feel we are getting the story we want to record/share.
This afternoon I was reading an interesting article by Dewitt Jones in this month's issue of Outdoor Photographer. He was talking about "a net over a flood" to describe how sometimes it's almost impossible to isolate, or explain a scene we're trying to photograph. Sometimes there is so much "stuff" in the photo that you can't quite find the story. According to Jones, John Muir uses the language of art to put words to this visual dilemma: "When we try and pick out any one thing by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe."~ John Muir
It seems as if this is a valuable lesson to share with any photographer, of any level of expertise. There's a lot of emotion in our photography, and many purposes to our story telling. For aren't we storytellers?
For more visual examples of the "net over a flood", visit Mark Lissick's website , where Jones describes a seminar he co-taught in Monet's gardens outside Paris. The images are magical.
Enjoy, and Happy Outings!