What a wonderful age we live in now when we can pick up a digital camera or smart phone, go for a bush walk or stroll along a scenic beach at sunset and snap away 500 times without the fear of the traditional processing costs involved to view what we have photographed. If we don’t like the photo we just press the delete button and click again. This flexibility has given us the confidence and time to experiment with all the other function buttons and knobs and filtering features on our cameras. To add to our advantage there is the growing popularity of free downloadable apps turning any snap into a photo book masterpiece. So with all these exciting features and apps available, handing a camera to our children to promote discovery and discussion about our outside world is much more relevant and fun for childs play.
Here are a few ideas to get children out of the house, with camera in tow, to start discovering and building an appreciation for their natural surroundings. Given the freedom and a quick tutorial of the camera, their creativity and confidence to experiment will blossom!
- Send them on a scavenger hunt. Whether you go on a bush walk, trip to Grandmas or check out the backyard, write a list of natural elements for them to find and photograph. Look out for different textures and colours in nature, such as wet, dry, rough, smooth and repetition of objects.
- Photograph every flower in the backyard or local park during each season to see how seasonal weather influence the environment. You will be surprised what is actually flowering in your local area. Create a seasonal calendar documenting what flowers and when. This is a great conversation piece when friends and family come over.
- After a hard day of snapping, let your child pick their favourite picture and have it printed on a canvas, mug or even have a storybook made from a collection of snaps. There is always a birthday just around the corner!
- Download some cool photo editing apps for the children to let their creativity go wild. There are so many to choose from.
Ideas for Composition
Photograph the environment at different times of the day. Sunrise and sunset are two great times of the day where the light from the sun isn’t too strong. Take advantage of the pink and orange haze appearing in the sky at this time for some beautiful backdrops. If you are photographing flowers in the middle of the day, try using a black, green and neutral coloured umbrella over head to soften the surrounding light.
- Try looking for different patterns and textures in nature such as repetition of sticks, bark on trees, stone formations and ripples in the sand.
- Look for contrasting colours.
- Get down low. Get on your hands and knees or lie on your back to view plants, trees and the sky from a different perspective. A classic photographic shot is lying under a tree and pointing the camera upwards to the sky to capture the sunlight filtering through the branches. Amplify this by taking it on a foggy morning. Magical!
- Photographing on a foggy morning will always produce some amazing effects on the landscape.
- Get up close. Don’t be shy to get in close to an object and use the camera’s zoom feature. Trying to capture a bee on a flower is always a fun challenge.
- Try photographing the object from a different angle to what you would normally.
By Alana Searle from About the Garden Magazine. Visit www.aboutthegarden.com.au for hints and tips on what to grow now, or subscribe and receive a FREE online subscription to the seasonal magazine.