This past weekend I joined a group of folks who I'd like to think were significantly older, but in reality were my peers, sigh, on a trek through the woods of the nearby Yellow Creek State Park. We were led by an experienced nature photographer. She gave a thorough and information-packed talk on how to best take pictures in nature using whatever camera you own.
Some of my photog cohorts lumbered around with cameras and tripods or cameras with lenses as tall as a toddler or just a simple cell phone. All listened intently as we learned how to take advantage of light and shadows. We learned how to frame a shot. We were encouraged to spend time with one subject and take the shot from different angles using a variety of settings (when available) to get a different effect.
We began our slow meandering walk into the woods forcing ourselves to see the beauty in the leafless trees, the rotting detritus of last fall that carpeted the forest floor and the general browness of the landscape.
After a few minutes and shifting my idea of what beauty is, I was able to spot a variety of shapes, textures and even some color peeking through to photograph. I spent some time fiddling with the manual settings on my Canon EOS not relying on the automatic options. I changed F stops and ISO. I zoomed and unzoomed. I got low and aimed high.
I found green lichen making interesting patterns on the bark of trees. I found bark in all types of textures and shades of brown. Moss provided a spectrum of greens and textures. The sun glowed through thick clouds that at first appeared to be a solid wall but when studied they had shape and shades of grey. The barren trees made for dramatic angles. Red berries the birds hadn't eaten popped against grey-brown bark. Little yellow wildflowers popped from brown leaves providing a contrasting background.
Once I started to appreciate the beauty of early spring, I couldn't stop taking pictures. Most of my pictures did not come out as I had intended but it was nice to get back into using my camera that had been collecting dust. I needed this push to get me excited about a hobby I let slip away. I love taking pictures, especially black and white photos.
As I started to snap shot after shot I became excited. I got dirty as I knelt i in the ground for better angles. I wandered off from the group and winded my way into the woods looking for more interesting images.
I would have kept at it but my 10-year-old camera decided it had had enough and just shut off.
As I wait for the new battery to arrive, I anticipate my next foray into photography so I can hone my skills.
Until then I will share some of my not so great shots with you.
Happy Spring. Take time to enjoy the little beauties that get lost.