It’s nature photography day! Here’s how you can get started
Harrisburg, PA (WHTM) – June 15 is Nature Photography Day, a day we celebrate the work of intrepid souls who travel to the ends of the earth to bring us stunning, beautiful and inspiring nature images.
You might have wondered if you can take nature photography yourself. But wouldn’t that mean investing large sums of money in camera equipment? Several camera bodies, lenses ranging from super wide angle to extreme telephoto, tripods, batteries, recording media.
This is just the beginning !
If you’re shooting video, you need camera stabilizers, drones, audio recording gear, and the crew to help you get all that gear in and out!
Well that’s what it would be if you worked for National Geographic or BBC Earth. There is no denying that they have really amazing and expensive equipment.
But you would be amazed at how much you can do with a simple cell phone.
Early cellphone cameras left a lot to be desired when it came to image resolution, but image quality has improved dramatically over the years. If you want to learn photography, your cell phone is a great place to start. It’s simple to use and you carry it around all the time, so if an interesting photo opportunity arises, you’re good to go.
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The important thing is to keep your eyes open.
Wildlife can appear in all kinds of unexpected places. We had several times a fox in the abc27 parking lot. I also had a video in the parking lot of a June bug larva, a rather strange larva that moves on its back with its legs in the air.
There are probably all kinds of unusual creatures out there where you live, whether you are in the countryside or in a big city. Even, your bland backyard is an exotic and distant place for someone on the other side of the planet.
Sooner or later, if you’re really serious about your photography, you’ll want things to improve your shot.
A good first investment is a tripod for stable shots. This is especially important for video; shaking shots can be dramatic, but they can also be embarrassing and irritating. Tripods are also useful if you want to use special features on the cell phone, such as time lapse photography.
Since cell phones do not have a way to attach them to a tripod, you will need a special adapter, which screws onto the tripod and has a clamp to hold the cell phone in place. Mini tripods are also useful for low-angle shots.
If you go to the beach, the sand and salt water can make a number on your cell phone. Keep it in a sort of waterproof pouch between shots. Some of them are optically clear, so you can take pictures without taking out the phone.
Now that the wild animals are, well, wild, they’re a lot more likely to run away than to come near you. If you have critters in your area that you would like to photograph, but they are a bit shy, you can try a little camera trap. This is where you set up a camera, start recording, go into hiding and hope for the best. You can do this with your phone, but you will need to set it to “record streaming video”.
Sooner or later you will fill up your camera’s memory. Besides, how do you answer the phone if it rings?
It’s time to consider another expense. A reasonably good trail camera can be had for a reasonably good price. It will only record when something triggers its sensor, and animals tend to ignore them. Most of them also have infrared light for night photography. You can find out what’s going on in the yard while you sleep, or what the cats are doing in the kitchen at 2 a.m.
One of the downsides of cell phones is that they don’t really take telephoto shots. If you have tried using the camera’s digital zoom, you may have noticed that the image becomes grainy. This is because they enlarge their images by electronically cropping the image, which means that individual pixels take up more space on the image and the quality of the image suffers.
When it starts to get frustrating, it’s time to think about taking the next step, that of a camera with optical zoom. It can be a camera with a built-in lens or a device with interchangeable lenses. Optical zoom changes the size of the image by moving the lens elements back and forth inside the lens barrel. The image size always remains the same, without graininess.
One last tip. No matter how good you are with the camera you use, you are going to produce clunkers. Remember, the recycle bin is your friend. Use it wisely and often.