Nature photography is a term covering all types of living-world photography – from wildlife, birds and insects to trees, flowers and fungi – and many of the club’s members have a passion for spending hours stalking bugs in the countryside or including safaris and rainforest treks in their holiday plans.
Capturing a great nature photograph doesn’t necessarily mean journeying far – once a photographer learns about the birds and creatures living around them, these visitors not only make a garden come alive but our photographs too.
Flowers and plants are a perfect place to start, with leaves, buds and vegetables also making interesting subjects. Summer is a great season for plant photography but conditions can be key – early mornings reward with dewy water droplets on leaves and petals and shooting in evening light before sunset gives a soft hue, avoiding harsh shadows from bright sunlight.
Animals and insects can be tricky to locate, but with patience, practice and a little insight into their reactions and behaviours – such as knowing insects are generally most active around midday – a great image is within easy reach.
A keen garden photographer with a mirrorless or DSLR camera would invest in a close-up macro lens, while for wildlife a zoom or telephoto lens will cope with longer distances often involved and allow the shot to be taken without disturbing the subject. However, nature photography is very accessible and doesn’t necessarily need expensive kit. Modern smartphones can create superb results, with multiple lenses/apertures and zooming now common features. Try experimenting with your mobile phone’s camera settings – High Dynamic Range (HDR) will enhance detail, while shooting in burst mode can help capture anything that moves fast. Always make the most of natural light available and to avoid blurring, find something to rest your phone on for stability. Importantly, as mobile phones live in our bags and pockets, it’s worth remembering to clean the lens periodically to avoid smudged photos.
The wonderful images featured on these pages are from recent Sidmouth Photographic Club competitions. Members are always keen to share skills and expertise with each other and the friendly club welcomes photographers with all abilities and cameras. More information can be found at www.sidmouthphotoclub.co.uk