Wisconsin Rapids, United States

English radio and newspaper journalist and photographer based in Wisconsin, USA. I am employed as a broadcaster and photographer, but am...

Photography In The Park Doesn't Have To Be Swings And Roundabouts

I when on a photography trip yesterday, my aim was to capture the unusual or unique. Of course I managed to get some typical shots of the lake, the beach, and the boats. But I also wanted to take a view of the sorts of things people missed.

Wild flowers are often overlooked, especially if they’re small. A good zoom or macro lens can help you capture blooms no bigger than your thumbnail and very high resolution cameras can ensure that your images are good quality. It’s worth not ignoring flowers that are in bud, wilting, or damaged, as they can display a quirky beauty along with something more interesting than a perfect, regular blossom.

Insects too, are in abundance this time of year. The warmth and humidity brings many creatures to our attention that would otherwise be hiding under bark or in the undergrowth. I managed to find some fruit flies (mating), a dragonfly, a large bumble bee and a carrion beetle. The key with these creatures is to use a fast shutter speed as some move extremely fast! The bright sunlight assists, as it means the shutter doesn’t need to be open so long to let in the requisite amount of light.

Man-made items can also be good subjects for photography. I found a large footbridge that I was previously unaware of, despite having visited this park for years. Looking closely at the wooden planks forming the floor of the bridge, I noticed they were all more worn in a 1 ft strip in the middle. This was the pattern the bicycles made.

A dam provided a man-made waterfall from the sluices, together with a fast-flowing stream. Using high shutter speed I was able to catch the roaring waters as they cascaded through the sluices. Another approach would be a slow shutter speed and a tripod, to create an ethereal look.

Last but not least, people are worth documenting too. How they use the park, on walks, cycle rides, etc. can bring a bland scenery shot to life. These days some people don’t like having their picture taken and it’s a good idea to respect that, even if you may have a legal right to take a picture of them. Nobody wants to be seen as a nuisance photographer. But if the people are in the distance or have their back to you, they are more figures than faces and can add to your scene without being identified.

The idea is to think outside the box. To look at something you might normally ignore and see how it could make a good photograph. It works for me!

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