Everywhere you turn in nature, it seems, there is something beautiful, intriguing or awe-inspiring. It can provide solace, diversion and – for photographers – endless creative possibilities. From the small details of how plants and animals live, to the swoop of an undulating landscape, photographing nature is a profound passion of mine and it allows me to explore the never-ending fascination we have with it.
Connecting with Mother Earth
That heading might sound a little bit woo-woo, but connecting with nature is not just pleasurable; often its important. There's a calmness to it (indeed, access to nature is important for one's mental health) that opens up space to think, to see and perceive things, and, yes, to connect with something bigger than ourselves. Whether a river is a raging torrent or a placid meander, we feel something deep down when we look at nature. Trying to capture that in an image is hard, but well worth trying to do.
The dance of light and colour
However hard Farrow and Ball might try, they will never quite capture the same distinctiveness and vibrancy of colour that appears in nature. The interplay between the colours and shapes of plants, flowers, fruits, animals and the earth itself, with the ever-shifting effect of the weather is a playground for visual effects – and an excellent challenge for any photographer.
Composition and visual storytelling
Nature is full of stories. That's where capturing natural beauty in an image can help. Teasing out the narratives in natural situations challenges me to find compelling compositions that tell stories without words. From leading lines to composition experiments to find a certain balance and harmony, each element in the frame contributes to the narrative.
Exploring different environments
One of the greatest joys of photographing natural landscapes is venturing into different natural surroundings. They could be woods or wetlands, fields or the seashore. They could even be the patch of waste-ground in the middle of the city that on first impressions looks devoid of life. In nature, the closer you look, the more you find.
Capturing the seasons
Nature lives by the seasons; it has no calendar. And nature's landscapes and inhabitants transform with the changing seasons, presenting an ever-changing canvas for photography. From the hazy illumination of spring to the vibrant colours of autumn, each season brings its own charm and visual elements that the photographer can incorporate into their images.
Photographing natural landscapes and individual wild plants and animals is, really, about connection. A different type of connection to that in, say, portrait photography, but connection nonetheless. It feels different to photograph nature, and in my images I hope to capture that sense of wonder and fascination I always feel.