For those of us in the currently storm and snow swept northern latitudes, spring is approaching. It is the season of new life, renewal and of course dusting of the cameras and lenses and embracing the brighter light and blue skies. Today we are going to have a look at some of the subjects you can shoot during the spring.
What You Need to Know About the Quality of Light in Spring
Before we go any further, let's have a look at one of the things that makes spring such a great time for the photographer, namely the light. As well as have earlier dawns and later sunsets, the sun does not climb so high into the sky as during the summer months. This means that the light often remains soft and photogenic throughout the day giving us long hours in which to practice our art.
The weather too will play an important role, there are more clear sunny days often with whit fluffy clouds but because the temperatures are not so high there is less pollution leading to more clarity in the light, just the sort of thing we photographers thrive upon.
So what can we shoot?
Spring Flowers: Obvious of course but not less a subject matter for it. For the macro photographers amongst you, there is an infinite range of different flowers at different stages of bloom. The spring is the time of morning dew and soft light, so getting up early is a good idea.
Of course flowers are not just restricted to macro enthusiasts, grab a nice standard zoom and shoot some shallow depth of field shots amongst a sea of flowers, picking out one bloom and isolating the focus on it.
If you are in an urban environment, look at showing your city off in bloom, hanging baskets, flowers in the parks and many other floral subjects that can create a color contrast to the normal city. For those of you in more rural locations the woods and forests can make wonderful locations, the leaves not fully developed allow light into the forest floor where flowers such as bluebells may be blooming in abundance.
Wildlife: Whether you are in the city or the countryside, spring is the time for new arrivals. It might be the lambs and calves at your local farm, or the squirrels and young birds in the local park. Take a long lens, add a dash of patience and you can be rewarded with some wonderful shots of the spring’s new life.
Wildlife in spring is full of life, running, leaping and playing as the temperature warms up. Set your cameras to continuous mode and practice your panning techniques trying to capture the exuberance of the spring life. As with all wildlife shots, make sure you do not disturb your subjects, for them this is a stressful time.
Spring Lambs_MG_9632 by HJSP82, on Flickr
Time-lapse: Always wanted to shoot a time-lapse but but never know what to shoot? Now is the time.
If you have access to a private outdoor location, set up a camera to capture a tree growing its summer coat of leaves over a couple of weeks. If you are location limited, simply do a time capture of flowers, budding and blooming in a pot on your window, or even the view from your window as the trees and flowers emerge from winter.
A tripod, is of course needed and you will need to decommission your camera for up to a couple of weeks as well. You will also need to choose a location where the camera and tripod will not get kicked.
People: As much as the wildlife enjoy the spring, people do to. The soft clear light and colorful backgrounds make it a great time to get out and do some al fresco portraiture.
Moderate telephotos and wide apertures are the obvious choice but you can also use a wide angle and put your subject in a sea of flowers, there are many many options for portrait photography in the spring. As well as the posed subject there are the candid and street portraits that you can take in the spring, people in the parks playing or enjoying sport, people in the streets just chatting to each other, spring makes all of us more sociable, and with that we are more happy and photogenic.
Lastly, as spring is the season of renewal, you can renew your photographic vows, find some new ideas, if there is an area that you have been wanting to get into, now is the time to do it. If your cameras have been gathering dust over the winter, give them some TLC and a good clean. A day’s shooting with your newly cleaned camera will always bring with it further inspiration.