• Melissa Neeb

6 Shockingly Simple Ways to Get Amazing Nature Shots!

1. Slow down.

Seriously. Photography is not a race. Slow waaaay down.

When you are out taking a walk, hiking, sitting by a lake, or even in your backyard, just slow your pace. Listen to the birds squawk. The creek's gentle trickle. The leaves crunch. The squirrels crash in the trees. Get off the trail. Get your boots muddy. Get covered in cockle burrs. You will not get phenomenal pictures if you don't explore.

The point is not to arrive, but rather to wander.

2. Get curious.

Climb over, under, and around things. Get dirty. I have stumbled across snails, slugs, deer, beavers, butterflies, baby snakes, eagles, and microscopic toads in my explorations. I am so curious about all of it. I want to know about their habitats. What they eat. How they nest. Often I will google things when I get home to learn more. I never want to stop learning.

3. Explore close to home.

You do not need to travel to get interesting, unusual nature shots. You quite possibly don't even have to drive anywhere. Explore your neighborhood. Visit your county parks and state parks. Find a lake or creek. Go sit on a dock. Lounge under a weeping willow tree. Walk around an arboretum or nature reserve. Get outside at sunrise or sunset. You don't not need to go far to find beauty. It's right outside your door.

4. Notice the details.

Look at the angles of shadows and buildings. Find reflections in water. Notice the contrast of pretty wildflowers in front of an abandoned house. How striking a red door is on an paint-chipped building. The majesty of a century-old church bell. The barely-there inscription on a limestone grave marker. The vibrant colors on a small town mural.

5. Look up.

If you want to get a shot that no one else has, get creative with your perspective. If you are under a canopy of trees, look up instead of straight forward. Shoot a lake through tree branches. Photograph sunlight streaming through a leaf. Change your viewpoint. Don't take the same picture that everyone else would take if they were there. Experiment with how you can make it different.

6. Get up close and personal.

Fill up your frame with your subject! So many pictures could be made better just by getting closer. Get in a close as you can. Notice everything. A drop of dew on a blade of grass. The veins of a leaf. A spiderweb on wildflowers. Sparkling grains of sand on the beach. Cracks as water freezes on a pond.

There you have it! Hope these tips inspire you to get moving and search for the beauty that's available no matter where you live!

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