We’ve all seen inspirational photographs that give us a sense of awe about our natural world and leave us wishing that we could visit these exotic locales. The grass seems greener at these places and if we could only get there, we could photograph that beautiful landscape, colorful bird, majestic mammal, or rare courtship ritual ourselves. If only! But, life finds a way of rerouting our best laid photographic intentions and so we table our photography for another day. Let me tell you that each time you do that, you are missing out on the opportunity to create wonderful images. Sure, I’d like to visit Yellowstone, the Badlands, Redwood National Park, the Guadalupe Mountains, or simply spend more time on the private South Texas ranches I’ve written about on this blog. Believe me, those days will come and I will eventually photograph at all of these places and more. Today though, I’d like to continue with my series of articles on “places to photograph” and share a photographic hotspot that nearly every photographer overlooks….the back yard.
I know, that’s not quite as exotic as the Galapagos Islands but there are wonderful images to be had on your own “greener” pasture. Mine exists on a small lot in a suburban subdivision surrounded by a cedar fence, five trees, and routinely patrolled by four vigilant beagles. To date, I have documented 19 different species of birds, 4 mammals, and numerous flowers and insects that I have not kept track of. Last summer, my children were competing in a nature photography contest so I built a temporary pond using wooden pallets, sand, river rock, and of course a pond liner though I probably could have used a shower curtain and saved some money. I selected a few flowering plants as ground cover at a local garden center, stumps/perches I’d collected from ranches I had frequented in the past, then created my mini-landscape. The birds were instantly attracted to my mini-scape, the seed I placed in small piles, and the water. From that point on it was a hotbed of photographic activity. The images below were photographed by myself or my children (as noted in the copyright).
So, don’t despair when you find that obstacles keep preventing you from going outdoors, simply find a way to bring the outdoors to you and start making pictures. You’ll be amazed how green the grass can be on this side of the fence.
Until next time… –KEVIN