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Spring is ideal for outdoor photos

Each season has things about it that appeal to people. Some prefer one season over another for various reasons. No one season is perfect for everyone, but certainly we can find something about each season that we really like.

When I was young I really was not that fond of spring. I disliked the teasing weather changes. Summer and fall were more to my liking. However, as I grew older and became less fond of winter, I also saw spring from a different perspective. Even though the weather can be a tease with one day in the 80s and the next in the 50s, I will take the warm days even as few as they are as a sign of good weather to come.
One of the neatest and most promising things about spring, in my opinion, is the new life that comes with

it. Trees begin sprouting new leaves and blossoms, frogs lay eggs and croak, gardens are tilled, fish spawn and turkeys gobble trying to attract a hen. Young birds sing and build nests and the cycle of life comes once again to the point where reproduction is in full swing.

With all this life in the woods and on the water procreating and the domestic life that we have such as rabbits, chickens, ducks and other farm animals, this is a great time to get your camera and head outside to capture these moments and examples of the work our beautiful Creator has done.

Some of easiest spring photo subjects include tame life such as the farm animals. Taking photos of farm life or domestic life is fairly easy. One must only frame the subject properly and wait for a unique moment. A cow letting her calf nurse, a bunny standing on its hind legs, perhaps a rooster crowing fully stretched out with all his colors flared, or chicks hatching. Lighting might be an issue but patience and planning will overcome lighting issues.
Although the farm and domestic photos are easy to take I prefer the challenge of spring nature. Hummingbirds slurping up their syrupy supper at the feeder or, better yet, at a wild flower are fun to catch on camera. A newly dropped fawn or perhaps a turkey chick or poult can be the subject of your camera hunt.

Fresh blossoms caught up close are beautiful if you have a macro, a tripod and no wind. Windy spring weather can challenge the situation some. Close ups need to be taken on calm days. Insects are also interesting if caught up close. I have inadvertently caught some bees or flies in flowers when trying to get the flower alone. A tripod is the way to go with close ups though.

Birds are everywhere in the spring. Ospreys dive in the river looking for supper and eagles are teaching their young to fly too. Some wood ducks and mallards are leading chicks through the water. I don’t know very many birds cuter than a mallard duckling. The bright yellow color with the brown stripe and happy countenance will make one smile every time.

Spring activities are also well worth taking the camera out. A kite flying at the end of a string held by a child, a toddler picking flowers or handing some to his mom, or a child holding a baby animal of some sort are all great subjects. I try to take pictures of people casting, fishing or fighting a fish. Sometimes seeing kids paddling a canoe or rowing a boat makes a great shot. This is particularly true if the person has a bright colored life jacket on. Try to zoom in and catch the water dripping off the paddle. When taking action shots put your digital on a higher ISO to still the ball as it is being kicked or a lure is being cast. However, if you slow things down a hair the slight blur of a rod being whipped back, a ball blurring as it rockets forward or a bird flapping will give a photo a different touch. The same goes for a waterfall.

Tips
Take photos in consistent light such as overcast days or in midday shade. The contrast of shade and sunlight in the same frame will take away from the shot. If shooting an angler or boater with a call cap be sure they have the cap tilted up on sunny days.

Take photos right after a rain. The drops of water on your subject will give them a touch of realism (you can also use a water bottle too). Taking photos just before a spring storm or shower can yield terrific results too. The swirling clouds, rainbows or sunrays cutting through openings in clouds can make incredible shots.

Don’t disturb wildlife. If you find a baby deer or baby birds certainly don’t get too close. Use a telephoto lens.

Bend down or lay down to get some shots. The perspective will be different. Have the fish caught and photographed coming right out of the water without man made objects in the background if possible. I heard of a trick that another outdoor photographer used to get leaping bass with a lure in its mouth. He submerged a big bucket in the water at the pond or lake. Then he took a camera and prefocused it on the area above the bucket. His ISO was fairly high. Then he dropped the hooked bass or fish into the bucket with his rod. The fish would swim, turn and leap out. He snapped numerous shots and often got a nice action shot of a fish leaping with a lure in its mouth. That is a neat trick that I need to try!

Mark Fike

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