When I first began my journey as a photographer I primarily shoot nature, for a series of very practical reasons: first, I live in the country, so I just have to step out of my doorway and find tons of naturalistic subjects; second, it gave me time to try again and again, change camera settings, see the results, understand what I had done wrong or right, and so on. Third, it gave me an excuse to hide away as I felt ridiculous going around Turin with my camera and not knowing very well how to use it.
A few years have gone by since those first tentative steps, and I’ve been experimenting other fields of photography, but nature still remains one of my favourites. So I thought it would be nice to share with you some tips I have learnt along the way.
1. Take your time to find out what you really like photographing about nature. It’s such a vast field you could almost get lost and end up with a lot of pics but none you really love. It could be landscapes, animals, macro and details, sky and clouds, the sea or the mountains… experiment then make your choices: your photographs should convey your personal vision on nature, your feelings and sensations.
2. Don’t be in a hurry but be ready to catch the moment. Nature requires a lot of patience. And when I say a lot, I do really mean a lot! You have to investigate before going on an excursion, know the place in advance by doing researches, especially when it comes to mountains or out at sea, or just anywhere you’ve never been to. Then you have to walk and look for your perfect locations and subjects, then walk again to come back. If you’re shooting animals, you need to know their habitats, then lie in wait – sometimes even for hours, depending on the animals and the situations.
3. As for any kind of photography, the best hours to go out shooting are at sunrise and sunset. But when it comes to nature, this is a gold rule. Not to speak when you’re near lakes, rivers or the sea… imagine all the reflections that light will offer you. Then of course, you can break the rule and just shoot at midday or any other hour you prefer, as long as you’re happy with your photos it’s great.
4. Be ready to go out with threatening clouds, wind, rain and snow (and be prepared to protect your camera!). Sunny days are pleasant but quite boring, so when going out on those days look for light that fascinates you (I personally love shooting in backlight) . Weather can dramatically change the mood and the beauty of a photograph. You’ll sometimes end up soaked up in water, probably with a cold, but with fabulous shots.
5. Have fun, enjoy the beauty of nature and be respectful of it. Naturalistic photography is a great way to discover amazing places, and most of the times they are not so far away from where you live. You don’t need to travel the world to find breathless beauties. Some of the pictures I love the most where taken a few miles from my house. Discover, experiment and enjoy every second of it.
I hope these few tips have helped you. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions that come to your mind, or to leave your comments and experiences. I’d love to hear from you!