Spring into action with your cameras, and try for some amazing photographs using the following tips for this time of the year
At this time of year, there’s a noticeable freshness – foliage is richly green from spring rains, the first flowers are starting to appear and trees are awash with blossom. And it’s all happening while the sun is still not too high in the sky, so your shots will benefit from depth-enhancing raking shadows and softer light throughout the day in a way that’s not always possible at the height of summer, when the sun is directly overhead.
Maximise colours and contrasts with a polarising filter or a grey or blue graduate to darken skies for dramatic contrast against a bright landscape, and experiment with a greener setting on your white balance to make the most of the foliage. You could also try a neutral density filter (we love these filters), to reduce over-bright exposures to manageable levels, and a warm-up filter to add a touch of, you guessed it, warmth.
First things first:
The other great thing about spring shooting is that dawn cracks at a fairly civilised hour compared to summer, so you don’t have to get up in the middle of the night to capture serene sunrises. With frosty nights quite common even until May (and we’ve recently seen the range of weather conditions over this last week here in the UK), you can also benefit from early-morning icy etchings on details such as spiders’ webs and leaves.
Cool damp mornings also hold the promise of mist, which can make for truly evocative landscapes – but with the longer exposure times that mist can cause, you may need to consider supporting your camera on a beanbag, monopod or tripod, or try cranking up the ISO to compensate (for the steady handed, otherwise blurring and fuzziness will occur).
Ready for your close up:
Camera support will probably also be necessary for close-ups of dewy or frosty details on flowers, buds, blades of grass or unfurling leaves, since any slight movement will be jarringly noticeable in your images.
If you have the option, switch to aperture priority and go for a mid-to-wide open aperture like f/4 for a shallow depth of field, throwing the background beyond focus and concentrating attention – and sharpness – on the subject. This is also a great technique for single or small groups of flowers, such as crocuses or snowdrops. The close-up/macro mode if you have one on your smaller compacts will create a similar effect. Brighten the image if necessary by using a small piece of white card or a mini reflector to throw more light onto the scene.
The right angle:
In spring, tree branches that have been bare for months start to come back to life with light-coloured foliage and blossom, making for bright, cheerful images. Use a wide-angle lens or the wide-angle setting you would normally save for sweeping landscapes to shoot upwards and capture their height and breadth against a deep blue spring sky with the resulting converging verticals creating an unusual and eye-catching – almost abstract – effect.
See our Fine Art Organic Abstract Collection of photographs and prints which are available to purchase if you’d rather let the professional compose and present a wall worthy display of art for you.
You could also use a macro lens or the close-up/macro setting on your camera to hone in on small details, such as unfurling buds or leaves. A longer lens, such as the 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6mm (or the telephoto end of your compact lens’s range), can bring a different perspective to broader spring landscapes, enabling you to pick out details such as a lone, blossom-laden tree against a freshly ploughed field, or young lambs dotted across a field.
Where to shoot:
As long as you forget about all the Bank Holidays with their inevitable tourist crowds, national parks and gardens are usually not too busy in spring, and they’re particularly photogenic at this time of year, before the heat of summer has started to wash out their verdant hues. Closer to home, your garden will yield plenty of opportunities, with the added advantage that it’s – literally – on your doorstep!
Dust off those compacts and have a play.
Looking for a compact recommendation for this spring/summer season: Nikon have a great range of small easy to use and navigate compacts for beginners, semi-professionals, and professionals alike.
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