Sunday, May 8, 2016




This time of year, we all get excited to go out and take more pictures.  Spring is here (for most of us) and we just get the itch to see what "art" we can create this year.   Where should we go to capture the most famous pictures ever?  How about your own backyard?  What?  Am I crazy?   No, really!  We are trained professionals to look for things to see that others can't see.  Right?  So, I see that so many times when I go out into the world, or even into public.  I see pictures to take.  Street Photography when I am downtown with the family (and they are like:  really?  do you always have to take pictures of people in the street?)  To, when I am driving on the road at work, and whoa!!!!  Take a look at the way that tree is bending alongside the road.  Gotta pull over.  Don't you feel as a photographer you see more things than anyone else?  Ok, now let's go out into our own backyard.  What can you see?  Oh, work to do..... oh, yeah.  No, take a break from the work and see the beauty that is in your own back yard.  Birds, butterflies, flowers, bugs, fence posts, sun shining through the leaves on the trees.  Are you missing this?  Let's take a look at what a professional suggests as we read and look at some of the pictures in this great mini course from PictureCorrect:

You don’t have to travel very far to get great nature photography shots. There are many opportunities for nature photography right in your own backyard. There is an abundance of nature if you know how to look for it.
If you have flower beds, trees, bushes, or just wildflowers, you have many opportunities for some good nature pictures. I am going to give you a few ideas on how and what to look for. Go back to things that you have taken pictures of before but this time, look at them from a different perspective.
  • Get down low to the flowers and shoot upward. Sometimes not always easy to do but can give you some really great results. Look under the petals and leaves of the flowers. You may find a praying mantis or a ladybug, which can make a good nature picture also.
garden photography
“Butterfly” captured by PictureSocial member Vernan Jagunap
  • Lie down on your back in a stand of trees and shoot upwards. This gives a great deal of depth to your photograph and makes very interesting shot. Don’t forget to look up in the tops of trees. There may be a hawk, crow or a blue jay just sitting there, watching you.
tree photography
“Autumn 2” captured by PictureSocial member Andrew R.
  • Shoot some “profiles” of flowers. Some flowers have very pretty profiles. Even pictures of your flowerbeds can be shot from a different angle and will give you a completely different feeling. Many people want to take pictures of butterflies with wings open and taken from high looking down. Profile pictures of butterflies and great shots also.
flower photography
“Untitled” captured by PictureSocial member Madhukumar Veluthekkil
  • Most amateurs want to fill their frame with the subject, such as a flower, and have it centered right in the middle. Use the rule of thirds. Position the subject just to the right or left of center and about a third of the way up horizontally. This composition is much more pleasing to the eye.
backyard nature photography
“Untitled” captured by PictureSocial member Gloria Randriakoto
  • Take some of your pictures in the morning light and then again in the evening light. Midday light is very bright and can create a shadow problem for you. Early morning or late afternoon light is not nearly as harsh and actually gives you kind of a warm glow. Any time there is a little cloud cover is a great time to take pictures. Your colors will be a little more subdued and your background will not be too bright.
backyard flower photography
“Full HD Tulip” captured by PictureSocial member Anthony Zeder
  • If you have a bird feeder in your yard, you probably have tons of pictures of birds, but I will guess that the bird feeder is also in most of your shots. Add a perch near your bird feeder where the birds can land and jump over to the feeder. Use something that is going to look natural. You don’t want to use metal or a piece of lumber. Find a broken tree limb that is a couple of feet taller or shorter than your feeder. Dig a hole about 6 feet away from the feeder and bury it. Now when you catch that good shot of your birds, it is going to look natural and the feeder will not detract from your subject.
bird photography
“BulBul Garden Bird” captured by PictureSocial member Nikonino

Challenge yourself to try something new. Go back to some of the pictures you have already taken and take them from different perspectives. You may surprise yourself!
About the Author:Sheila Brown (shopbeautifulnaturepictures dot com) is an experienced photographer who enjoys writing articles to share her experiences and her passion for nature photography.


Another great article about taking pictures in your own backyard:

One of the most common questions I am asked at workshops is where do I go to get my reference photos? Most people assume that I travel far and wide to get my shots. This is true I do travel as much as I can, but the bulk of my photo archive comes from places photographed within 100 km (60 miles) of my home. Good reference photos for your art are just outside your front door you just have to open your eyes and look…. really look!
taking photos in your backyard
“desert plant” captured by Jeremy Ryan (Click Image to See More From Jeremy Ryan)

The following article is a simple guide of how to look and see your surroundings and find their hidden beauty.

The Equipment

To achieve good photographs you obviously have to have a camera, but what camera do you need? My suggestion is a Digital SLR (single lens reflex) camera for several reasons. First, the lenses on SLR’s are interchangeable so you can achieve much more with a single camera. As your abilities increase you will want to purchase new lenses or better lenses then you started with. All-in-one cameras do not allow for any “upgrades” or interchanging of lenses.
An SLR camera will also allow you to attach longer focal length lenses like a 100-400mm telephoto lens. As for what brand to buy it all comes down to preference. Today most SLR Digital cameras are doing to take a great picture. The only thing you need to concern yourself with is how expandable is the make and model you are purchasing.
In my experience Canon (which I use), Nikon and Sony (which will fit all your old Minolta lenses) are the most reliable and expandable models on the market today. Start with a single SLR body like a Canon 50D or Nikon D90, a good short range lens like a 18-55mm and if money allows, a half decent telephoto lens like a 100-400 to get those far away shoots. If you are planning to photograph a lot of wildlife like I do, then a 100-400mm lens is a “most have”.


Traveling to Africa or Alaska is the obvious way to get great dramatic pictures, but very expensive. The drama in your backyard can be just as dramatic if you know where and what to look for. Lighting is everything. Learn to see light and position yourself to capture natural light in its most flattering state.
backyard rabbit photo
“Chillin’ captured by Debra Bratrsovsky (Click Image to See More From Debra Bratrsovsky)

What do I mean by this? Most people stand with the natural light behind them so that they are photographing into a scene flooded with light. This light is great for a fast expose, but tends to “flatten” a scene because everything has the same intensity and lighting. If you positioned yourself so that you are shooting into the natural light you create a very dramatic “back-lighting” which has much more shape and form.
Try to set up the composition in your view finder so that lighted areas over lap shadowed areas. This will create a wonderful sense of depth in your photo. Overlapping will also create strong contrast in the composition and tends to help the sense of form in your picture. Taking the same shot with different exposure settings will also drastically change the quality of light in your photo. It is a good practice to take several different shots with under exposed and over exposed settings to make sure you will return to the studio with at least one shot perfectly exposed.
Look for things that can add character or drama to your photo. Directional lines help create a sense of movement in your photo. Position yourself to take pictures with strong visual lines that travel through your picture. This means that the line should enter from one side of your picture and leave the photo on one of the three other sides of the photo. Diagonal lines are the most productive for drawing the viewer into your picture and creating depth. Lines can also be made by changes in light (light to shadow), the edge of two objects meeting, tonal changes and warm to cool changes.
backyard creative object photo
“Drag the Waters” captured by Joe Lohr (Click Image to See More From Joe Lohr)

Learn to Capture Simple Things

Look past the obvious and see the wondrous in simple things. I have photographed hundreds of old barns and farm equipment over the years and some of those photos became the reference for many of my strongest art pieces. Objects that are old and aged create a sense of nostalgia in your photography. When ever I see an old barn the first thing I think of is ” what that old barn could tell us”. Sometimes it is what you are photographing that has is own character and charm. This character or charm then translates into “mood” or “presence” and creates life in your photo.
Barns are not the only thing with natural appeal to people, colorful skies, rolling green fields, waterfalls, babbling brooks all have a certain “character” to them that is natural and interesting. Ponds are a great location for not only settings, but wildlife. My pond offers a tapestry of color, form, directional lines, contrast and shapes. I have photographed almost every songbird indigenous to my area. The small waterfall is a favorite bathing spot for them. In addition to the birds are frogs, raccoons, fox, deer, squirrels, chipmunks and so on and so on.
The key to observation is to never stop looking. The same scene can look very different at different times of day. Lightning changes, climate changes, mood changes. Look beyond the “norm” and learn to see the basic beauty that is in everything around us. Humans really are the luckiest of all species because we have both the power to see and the power to appreciate!
backyard sunset photography
“Once there was a sunset” captured by eddie tanguilig (Click Image to See More From eddie tanguilig)

About the Author
Derek C Wicks is an internationally acclaimed wildlife artist who’s work has been use to endorse many conservation efforts and charity’s. Derek’s Full biography can be viewed on his 
wildlife art website. Derek’s credits include 2007 Ducks Unlimited National Artist of the Year and he is named as one of the 60 Masters Of Wildlife Art by Portfolio Press, New York, NY.


Once again thanks goes to PictureCorrect for these two great articles about just shooting pictures in your own backyard.  The photos are there, if you just learn to look for them.  Also, to the two authors of these articles:   Derek C. Wicks, and Sheila Brown.  Your expertise is greatly appreciated.

Now, go, and practice shooting pictures of things around you. 

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