Right at the most colourful season of the year, the spring, when the greens are shown in thousands of shades I had the luxury to attend an outdoor photo work shop with Fuji Film and Serkan Günes, a Swedish rewarded nature photographer. Equal part admiration and equal part excitement made me sign up for this work shop among many other activities at the Outmeals spring trek. It’s easy to be blown away by a gorgeous view, but its rather difficult to capture that same feeling on a flat screen or a piece of paper. Here are some of the tips that I gathered from Serkan when I followed his tracks in the beech woods of Åkulla. If you are like me, excited and eager but not so experienced when it comes to nature photography, this might be some handy tips for you!
Serkan demonstrate some of the basics of the art
1. Get rid of your steady feet position, but stay steady!
The first assignment for the day, was to practice the camera angle. To always take photos at your “eye-height” will only bring you back pictures from one single perspective. Taking your pictures in the nature, the objects will always stay at the same place, but your pictures will show totally different stories depending on your photo angle both vertically and horizontally. Moving around your object will not only help you to get what you want into the picture, it can also help you to remove what you don’t want in the picture by choosing the right angle. Try it!
Trying a different angle. From this position, I can move around the tree and decide what part of the stem and branches I want in the picture.
2. Just get out and practice
A good camera will not automatically give you the winner shot, but good practice might do. Get friends with your camera and practice the manual settings and analyse the result. There are no short cuts. My personal motivator in general, is to learn new things. By analysing your pictures, you will definitely see your progress and that I like!
This is such a good place to practice. A great combination of marked hiking trails and interesting nature.
3. Join a photo work shop or photo club
The absolute best part of this photo work shop was the instant feedback. To take a picture, look at it and together with Serkan tune the settings to make the next picture speak out. A little magical. After a session, find a method to select your best images and make albums.
This is a photo from a slow river running through the forest. My first picture was quite dark and brown, but with a little help from Serkan I managed to capture the colours from the trees and sky in the water which gave me something totally different.
4. Remember, the camera is not an eye!
One thing I have to remind myself of, is that the picture not will turn out the same way as I see the world. This is my biggest photo problem. I see a view, take a picture and no, it does not give me that great feeling as the real thing does. So, what am I doing wrong? There are a few reasons. First of all, your eye is a world champ when it comes to seeing shades of colour in different light settings at the same time. The camera is not that great, in fact, quite sensitive. If you have areas in direct sunlight and areas with shadows the colours will be hard to distinguish. Also, your ability to see the world in three dimensions, along with your hearing and sense of smell is going to be transferred onto a flat paper, this means you have to consider, angle, light and motive when you plan your frame. Ask yourself, how will I be drawn into the picture? Think foreground, ground and background. I’m beginning to think Serkan has a “built-in” frame on his sight with an alarm that goes off when he is getting near a perfect scenery!
Practicing capturing the feeling of spring in the forest.
5. Finally, you and your camera probably don’t fancy the same kind of weather!
As I mentioned the camera is not as comprehensive to bright light and hard shades as your eye. This mean that it will be difficult to take great outdoor photos in bright daylight. Rather choose a moment when the sky is cloudy, the light is more even and the shades are softer. This will bring out the full colours and add a feeling into your pictures.
On our way in to the forest, still difficult with the hard shades.
So, what now? Back to no 2, just get out and practice. And most important of all – have fun!