1. How did you get started in photography?
2. Why did you choose nature photography?
3. What tips do you have for others for taking photos?
4. What are your favorite things in nature to take pictures of?
5. Do you always want to do photography as a hobby or would you want to turn it into a career?
I've always loved drawing pictures, but in the early 2000's my family bought a digital camera. It was for all of us to use, but no one was taking any pictures with it, so I decided to go outside one day and take a couple. When I uploaded them to my computer, I fell in love with the idea that I could take a picture one second and see it on my computer the next. In 2005 was when I really started taking pictures, because my family and I drove from NH to CA. There were so many opportunities to take pictures then, and I did. I like how I can take a picture and show someone something from my point of view.
When I began taking pictures, I realized that the best lighting was from outside. Since I don't have any professional lighting for indoors, that is why I started taking pictures of nature. When I do take indoor pictures, I find that they are just so stagnant and lifeless; I like going outside and seeing plants, animals, and weather, and capturing these things in photos. In my opinion there is nothing more beautiful than nature.
My first tip is to not give up after taking only a few photos; don't get frusterated with yourself if they come out blurry or the lighting is terrible or you didn't get the image you wanted. This happens to me as well! If you keep persisting and keep trying different techniques and just play with your camera, you will start to get photos that you like.
Another tip I would give is to take a lot of photos of the same subject. It is hard to tell how well your photo came out in the tiny screen that most digital cameras have; once you get it uploaded to your computer you might find that it came out really blurry or you didn't get exactly what you wanted. If you take a bunch of pictures of the same scene or subject, there is bound to be one in that batch that came out good.
My last tip is on lighting: most of the time in nature you want to shut the flash off of the camera, but sometimes it does work. The reason you don't want to use the flash very often outside is because it gives it fake lighting, and if you are taking a picture of a landscape for example, the flash is picking up on the area probably 5 feet in front of you, which will cause your camera to autofocus close to you rather than focus on the landscape you are trying to capture. Flash does sometimes work however if you are taking photos of people outside; it can give a healthy glow effect on people that looks really neat.
My favorite subjects in nature to take photos of are probably water and plants. Water can be stagnant or flowing, like a waterfall. If the water is not moving, like a pond or lake for example, there is usually a mirrorlike effect where it is reflecting the landscape around it. Flowing water like waterfalls or rivers allow you to play with your shutter speed and you can either capture a crisp image of the water moving, or can make the water look smooth and soft, almost a blurring effect. With plants you can take pictures of them either from a normal distance or something called "macro" which is when you get extremely close shots of a part of the plant and can really see the details.
I'm not really sure at this point in my life. I know that the photography industry is extremely competitive and it is very hard to make a living as a photographer, especially in nature photography. I've thought about the idea of having some type of photography business as a side project to whatever my future career will be. Either way, I will always do photography as at least a hobby.
© Carolyn Robillard 2010