When we speak of nature photography as one of the major genres of photography, we often receive misinterpretations of it being strictly restricted to landscape photography. The genres – nature and landscape photography are interconnected and in fact, are types of each other. Nature photography is a vast study of the art of documenting various natural elements such as wildlife, birds, insects, plants, landscapes and underwater world with a photojournalism related, aesthetic or scientific purpose behind it.
Thus, nature photography can be primarily categorized as:
- Wildlife Photography
- Landscape (Scenic) Photography
- Underwater Photography
- Bird Photography and
- Astro Photography.
Nature photography itself is a ‘shot in the dark’ ballgame! At times, photographers tend to strike a series of repetitive imagery and make do with the setting used by multitudinous other photographers for a million times in a same mundane way. To really steer clear of that repetitiousness, it’s a need of the hour to imply several exciting techniques or even blend two or three tools together to prep up your style.
Below are a few applicative tools or mechanisms which are applied when you look forward to clicking the most exclusive pictures, even if you are in a stereotyped locale:
- Macro Photography: Don’t mind the weather, location or time; just adjust your focus and capture that fascinating creation of nature! Macro photography or close-up photography highlights the details of your subject. All you need to do to get a great close-up photograph is to ensure that you use your focus and auto focus creatively, in order to emphasize on the major aspect in the frame. Flowers, plants, blades of grass with dew drops on dangling on them and insects are some favorite subjects used by expert photographers everywhere.
Background focus blur technique is very frequently used in macro photography because smoothing the background gives a complete focus on the subject. Choosing your subject with just the perfect background is a task, but exploring as well as experimenting makes the process delightful! Although, you don’t require any special lenses, but you do need a good DSLR camera with a tripod to maintain the focal point. Macro photography is the easiest genre which can make you pro only in few practice sessions.
- Black and White Imagery: Some cameras allow you to shoot in RAW to get fine black and white pictures, but with some RAW incompatible cameras, you might have to work your ways out in colored pictures and then turn them into black and white images on the computer. Black and white pictures look utterly beautiful despite being colorless, for two reasons: a) shapes, tone and textures in b/w come out absolutely untainted and b) shadows and highlights become the integral characteristics of the picture. Ansel Adams, the famous American photographer, especially known for his bold, poignant black and white photographs, never liked colored photography. According to him, color photography was static and there was not much to explore! Certainly, black and white photography has its own class and charm.
- Time Lapse Photography: Time lapse is a great technique that goes close to cinematography. This technique is simply putting pictures together in a sequence. It is better not to use any filters in time lapse. Using an easily portable tripod is a must. Also, an automated camera trigger called Intervalometer is important in this process to have certain automated control. Compilations created with this technique have a great power to seize your attention towards nature and it is fascinating just to observe the way environment changes every hour. This is what we call time travel, don’t we!
- Panoramic Images: To use Panoramic technique effectively and effortlessly, you must have a specialized equipment that has panoramic mode in it through which you can take extra wide vantage points. Also, a tripod is a necessity for your camera to be super steady. Though, the technique is widely known for its horizontal images; many photographers ignore the fact that you can take amazing vertical images too. There are also overlap, 3D panorama, digital stitching, etc other tools to capture short or full rotation pictures. Good shutter speed and quality lenses really matter in Panoramic photography. This technique gives you mind-blowing, all-embracing photographs.
- Aerial Photography: Aerial photography is taking pictures of the ground structures from the top, simply put, it is photographs taken from the air. Focal length, stereoscopic coverage, flight lines, index maps and fiducial marks are some of the most essential elements in Aerial photography. It is largely practiced for studying local environment and topography or mapping purposes. Platforms for aerial photography include mainly aircraft, helicopters, UAVs or drones, kites and parachutes. Most often, it is used for commercial rather than artistic purposes. Broad and bird’s eye-view photographs of fields including water bodies and hills are exceedingly soothing for the eyes and mind.
- Infrared Photography: Infrared photography is an absolutely enchanting way to capture nature and landscapes. With the help of infrared or IR (infrared radiation) lights, mysterious looking or fairy tale-like pictures can be taken. These infrared lights are, of course, invisible to the bare eyes, but with a special infrared filter you can easily click awesome infrared pictures with a normal DSLR camera and tripod. Before you indulge yourself into this kind of photography, it is best if you grasp a few fun facts about the physics of infrared lights. Light plays the biggest role together with smooth and strong textures and large and small patterns of the natural elements. These photographs are way different from the normal photographs we see. They are unique and interesting, and photographers can make wonders with a lot of editing or photoshop-ing!
- Motion Blur Photography: Motion blur shots in nature photography are somewhat uncommon since, there is hardly any electric motion in natural surroundings, except for waterfalls or animals, is going on. In this kind, you would require slowing down the shutter speed to observe the movement of your object. There are not too many options to choose in this genre, but you get peculiar effects from each entity. A moving mockingbird, agile Cheetah and an overflowing cascade will obviously give you diverse effects. Panning a moving object, long exposure to adjust the actual image and zooming to move the camera during obtaining the exposure are three vital processes in motion blur photography. Longer exposures are responsible to make the objects look blurrier. Action is one of the major drives behind going for motion blur photography.
- Night Scenery: Night nature scenes are sometimes more gratifying than the usual daylight scenes. It is challenging to make elements in nature stand out in the dark, even if you use a flashlight. For natural light, making the most of the gloss flaring from moon and stars is the best idea. Using tripod, wide-angle lenses and a lens hood is required. Many cameras allow you to shoot in a bulb mode which works to your benefit. Capturing pictures in a RAW format is recommended so that colors and their transitions will perfectly highlight the contrasts. Night photography is often addressed as moonlight photography. Night photography techniques are largely used in astrophotography.
Nature photography is not at all as ‘child’s play-ish’ as we feel it is! It’s indeed effort-ful and back breaker. Photographers have to walk for miles and miles, climb thousands of feet and cross the deepest rivers to catch Mother Nature in her most sublime demeanor.
In the end, it’s all about ‘how unique can you make your photography’. Elements of nature are something that we see and observe every day, but what is it that we, at times, fail to notice and what is it that’s beyond our eyesight? If we catch that one deceptively ethereal moment, we could make the photograph unconditionally dateless!
Camera and photography are but marvelous creations of technology! It is of course, better than mental pictures sometimes, for the memory might fade away, but a digital storage can hardly deflate itself! Although, it is not just the camera that takes pictures after all; it’s your mind that visualizes and captures a moment before it slips from time’s clasp.
An incredible way to unfold nature’s grace is to decorate your houses and workstations with some stunning nature photography prints and frames. They grant an exceptional charm to your walls and help you keep the ambiance as lively as ever!
Tumbhimall offers a grand online art gallery where you can buy or sell photographs. It is a great platform for artists and even a greater online portal for art enthusiasts.