Taking Time to (Literally) Explore Your Own Backyard
Updated: Apr 28
I am the type of person who loves to travel and explore new places. When it comes to photography, it is not uncommon for me to research places that are known for beautiful sunsets or exquisite flowers. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic among us, traveling to these places is not possible nor is it safe. So, what does a person like me do? I take this time and explore what is right around me—my own backyard.
My entire property is two acres, so it is quite large. I have plenty of trees and a small garden. The wildlife—squirrels, chipmunks, deer, many different types of birds—are always present once the warmer weather arrives. There is always something to photograph. I try to get out and photograph at least three to four times a week. In the late Spring and Summer, that number jumps to seven. I am always finding something new, despite the (somewhat) small area. So, you’re probably wondering—“how does she get so many different pictures if she’s consistently photographing the same area?” It’s simple—I change up what, when, and how I photograph. Here are some of my tips to getting the most out of photographing the same area day after day:
Photograph at different times throughout the day. Capturing, for example, the same tree during the early morning sunrise (Golden Hour), in the mid-afternoon, and early evening can give you three amazingly different shots.
Photograph with different lenses. Capturing a flower using a 24-35mm wide angle allows you to see the flower as a whole. Using a 55-200 mm macro lens shows you those small details that aren’t always seen with the naked eye.
Use a lensball. A lensball is pretty cool. Using refraction, the light is bent through the sphere and your image is inverted. This type of photography has recently become very popular. Looking at an inverted image can allow you to see things you typically don’t.
Use a polarizer. A polarizer helps to cut down on glare. It also helps to make colors pop, especially if you are photographing the sky. Clouds look amazing with a polarizer!
Post-process images into black and white. Sometimes, a photo just looks better in black and white. Comparing a photo of a tree in color to a photo of that exact tree in black and white can be quite amazing to see.
Look around for wildlife. I love photographing birds and squirrels. They are always something cute! However, it can be hard to capture them because they are always on the move. Learning their behavior patterns, such as when they gather food, can help you capture some amazing shots.
Bring an indoor object outside. Last summer, I bought a Swedish Tomte (a Swedish gnome). It sat on a shelf for almost a year until I decided it would be interesting to photograph the gnome around my backyard. I put it in a tree. Sat it on my steps. Put it amongst some gravel. You can do this with any object. It’s interesting to see how these objects take on a different look when they are photographed in different places.
Now, some of you may be thinking— “I don’t have a backyard”, how can I explore something I don’t have?” or “My backyard is a quarter of an acre” It’s easy—your “backyard” doesn’t necessarily have to be a typical backyard. If you live in an apartment, your backyard can be what you see out your window. It can be a group of plants in your living room. The idea is to appreciate what is around you and see the world in different ways.
Thanks for reading!