One of the great things about landscape and nature photography is that each season presents unique opportunities. Although I do love the beautiful colors of autumn, spring may actually be my favorite time of the year for photography. After a long, cold winter it’s great to have more hours of sunlight and warmer weather. Trees and plants are coming to life with vibrant greens, and water levels tend to be high the snow melts off, which is great for photographing waterfalls!
Spring is a great season for getting outside and working on your craft. If you are looking for a specific project to get your creative juices flowing, there are many different things that you can do. In this article I’ll list 7 possible subjects that will allow you to enjoy spring while photographing the nature around you.
Finding flowers is pretty easy, they could even be in your own yard. There are plenty of public parks with flowers, and many private parks and gardens are also possibilities (some prohibit commercial photography so be sure to check the photo policy ahead of time).
The easiest way to get started is to find a local park, botanical garden, or arboretum that you can visit. Be sure to allow yourself plenty of time so you can move slowly and get great shots of many different flowers.
→ To get the most out of your wildflower photography see the Wildflower Photography e-book by Steve Berardi.
2. Tree Blossoms
Another similar option to photographing flowers is to photograph trees that are blossoming or blooming. Certain types of trees are beautiful in the spring. And some, like the cherry trees in Washington, D.C., are quite well known. If you’re not sure what type of trees to look for, see this article that discuses 10 beautiful flowering trees and this article that lists the best flowering trees and shrubs.
The biggest challenge with photographing tree blossoms is that you have a very small window of time, and it can be hard to predict. You’ll need to have some flexibility and be ready to head out when the conditions peak.
3. Streams and Waterfalls
Moving water like streams, creeks, rivers, and waterfalls are a great subject throughout the year. However, many of them flow stronger and carry more water in the spring after snow melts. This is especially true with mountain streams and waterfalls, as well as those that are fed by water flowing from higher elevation and colder areas.
Another reason to love photographing waterfalls and streams in the spring is the beautiful, lush greens that surround them.
You’re probably already aware of some streams or waterfalls in your area, and if not you can do a Google search like “waterfalls in Pennsylvania” and you’ll find plenty of help that will point you in the right direction.
→ Related reading: 10 Tips for Fabulous Waterfall Photography
Nothing is more typical of spring than the sound of chirping birds. Bird photography is a hobby of many people, and if you have never tried it this spring is a great time to start. It’s possible to photograph birds without even leaving your house (depending on where you live). See How and Where to Photograph Songbirds for some great tips.
You don’t have to limit yourself to just photographing birds in your backyard. Local parks are also good possibilities, and a Google search may help you to find a nature or wildlife refuge near you (see the next list item for some helpful links).
5. Other Wildlife
Birds obviously aren’t the only type of wildlife to photograph in spring. Many species are much more active and visible as the weather warms up, not to mention the wildlife photography is a lot more enjoyable for you when you’re not trudging through snow and ice.
The specific locations to photograph wildlife will depend on where you live and what you want to photograph. You can search for places to photograph wildlife in your area and you can also use the following links to help:
- List of wildlife refuges in the U.S. categorized by state
- Wikipedia’s list of nature reserves in the U.S.
- The Nature Conservancy
6. The Forest
As the weather warms up and leaves come back, the forest is a great place to photograph. In spring and summer the greens tend to be vibrant and eye-catching. Later on in the summer this may not be case if it’s a dry, hot summer. So if you want to photograph a beautiful green forest, spring is the best time to do it.
Many great photos can be created just by taking a hike through the forest. Find a local park or nature preserve and get out for a hike to see what you can find. If you combine it with moody weather, like an early morning fog, you may come away with something especially awesome. You may also find some wildflowers on your hike through the forest.
→ Related reading: How to Take Beautiful Photos in the Forest
If you want to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather, what better place to photograph than the beach? By photographing the beach in spring you’ll be able to get the warmer weather and still beat the crowds that will be flocking to the beach during the summer months.
→ See How to Photograph the Beach or Coast for tips
What Will You Be Photographing This Spring?
Feel free to share your own spring photography ideas and projects.