Has Spring sprung?? Are flowers blooming everywhere you look? Has the snow begun to melt and the waterfalls flowing with lush green foliage?? Well, here are five highly effective tips tips to improve your spring photography!
Nothing gives more of an instant impact in imagery then feeling like you’re about to get drenched by a wave or waterfall! Get in the water, get low, and try to time your exposures to capture incoming or outgoing waves or splashes of water being kicked up and redirected by a rock or log.
I think everyone along their photography journey has enjoyed shooting a watery scene. When I got hooked on photography, it was because of waterfalls and when the technical side of my brain became infatuated with filters.
I would love to take 10-15 second exposures but later realized I was losing any feeling of motion in the images because the water was completely blurred. Aim for a shutter speed that captures some texture, while long enough to blur the motion. Something like 1/3rd to 1/2, or even up to a full second. Don’t forget your polarizing filter. With things in full-on growth-mode colors, use a polarizer to cut reflections and reveal the vibrant colors.
April showers brings may flowers, right? Well, oftentimes a wet winter and spring can bring some extraordinary conditions in the way of blooming flowers. When the dreary winter months begin to break, set out and find some flowers. Flowers up close and personal can be great. Natural foreground elements, and the array of colors can be hugely impactful. Its also a great time to work on techniques like focus stacking, macro photography, or portraiture. The fresh air and singing birds are great for shaking off the winter blues and cabin fever!
We talked about waterfalls, oceans, and flowers, but what do you do when you find them? How do we make them more interesting? With the abundance of cool foreground subjects, spring is a great time to work on composition. One of my favorite types of compositions are the wide angle, “in-your-face” shots with big, bold, and CLOSE foreground subjects. But to really seal the deal, getting low can make all the difference!
When getting really low and close to your foreground, consider that you may need to focus stack. You may not be able to increase your aperture enough to fit it all in without compromising sharpness and details due to diffraction.
Look for Mood
The spring months can bring lots of moisture and mixed temperatures. One day it might feel like spring and the next it feels like winter again. Those extreme and sudden shifts in temperature and moisture can create some magical atmosphere! When this happens, I grab the gear and head out the door faster than you can say fog!
Here in the southwest, fog and cloud inversion can be extremely rare. But if you can be in the right place at the right time, you can create amazing images. Watch the weather and, when the conditions are right, be ready! Also, avoid using a polarizer when capturing foggy scenes as it actually detracts from the hazy drama that you’re chasing.
The Milky Way in the spring is low in the sky in the Northern Hemisphere. If you’re an early-riser, you can catch it in the very wee hours of the morning. When the skies are clear, head out to a dark place and capture the Milky Way! Look for interesting foregrounds to include such as water left from the rains to reflect the stars or a unique landscape! Night photography doesn’t have to be terribly complicated. Try a base setting of ƒ/2.8, 20 seconds, using a wide angle lens – something in the 12-20mm range.
Of course all of this depends entirely on getting out there and taking photos! Spring is my favorite time to be in the field. So get out there and be creative with your spring photography!