March 9, 2011
Winter provides plenty of opportunities for us to look at nature differently than we do in other seasons. Capture unique winter landscapes and wildlife activity with a camera. Here are some tips for photographing nature.
-Be sure to include objects in the foreground as well as the middle and background. For example, if photographing a bridge, include some of the shoreline and nearby trees.
-Avoid centering the subject. Instead, use the rule of thirds, and imagine your picture as a grid. The main focus of the picture should be slightly off to the side of the grid, top or bottom.
-Photograph in all weather conditions, even when it is snowing.
-Remember to look up; take a picture from the bottom of a tree looking up through its branches.
-Try photographing reflections, which can result in a calming/relaxing image.
-Get down on the level of your subject, and shoot the picture from the side, not from the front.
-Be patient, still and quiet. Wait for the right moment.
-Put up bird feeders near your home to photograph birds and even squirrels.
-Look for wildlife in parks and at public wild centers.
-Consider even the smallest subjects, such as a tree bud or a single snowflake.
-Take pictures from different angles. For example, try lying on the ground.
-Keep it simple. Don't clutter the image.
-Always note where the light is coming from, and avoid shooting directly into the sun.
-Use the flash to get rid of shadows.
-Take both horizontal and vertical images of the same shot.
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Learn the best places to view wildlife at DEC's Watchable Wildlife pages.
Picture Scavenger Hunt
Take your camera outside on a picture scavenger hunt to shoot photos of things that you wouldn't normally photograph:
-Birds at a birdfeeder
-Squirrels in the snow
-Animal tracks (see the activity below)
-Sunrise or sunset
-A frozen waterfall or lake or an ice-covered stream
-A bud starting to swell on a bush or tree branch
-An icicle hanging from a roof
-An ordinary object covered with snow
In addition, take some pictures around your yard, and have another person guess where they were taken. E-mail your best photo to Conservationist for Kids.
Winter Tracks Photography
Taking pictures of animal tracks in the snow is a popular winter activity. You can tell what an animal was doing by looking closely at its tracks.
Walk - When an animal walks, it leaves alternating, evenly spaced prints in parallel rows, often putting its hind foot in the same spot where its front foot stepped.
Trot - When an animal trots, the feet diagonal to each other move simultaneously; for example, the left front and the right rear.
Gallop - When an animal gallops, all four feet leave the ground at the same time as it moves forward.
Jump - When an animal jumps or hops, all four feet leave the ground at the same time as it moves forward and upward.
Take the following posters on your next photography hike to help you do your own animal tracking:
Tracks poster - Part 1 PDF (477 KB)
Tracks poster - Part 2 PDF (1.25 MB)
Read Conservationist for Kids for more information and activities!
Family Fun: Who Lives In a Tree?
Saturday, March 12 at 2:00 PM
Parent(s) and child(ren) must accompany each other. Space is limited. Please call Five Rivers at 518-475-0291 to register by Wednesday, March 9.
Family Fun: Maple Sugar Open House
Saturday, March 19 from 1:30 to 3:30 PM
Come any time to visit the round-robin education stations. Organized groups are welcome but are asked to call 518-475-0291 to register.
The (Almost!) Vernal Equinox Hike
Saturday, March 19 from 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM
Call 518-456-0655 to register. Cost: $3.00/person, $5.00/family, children under 5 free.
Advance registration is required. Call 716-683-5959.
Frogwatch USA Volunteer Training
Wednesday, March 9 at 6:00 PM
Thursdays, March 10 and 17 at 4:30 PM
For children in grades K-5. No registration required.
Snowy with a Chance of Salamanders
Saturday, March 19 at 10:30 AM
Spring Equinox Night Walk
Monday, March 21 at 7:00 PM