Spring Photography - how to make the most of the new season!

Spring is in many ways the best of the seasons for photography. With the Sun still low in the sky, lighting is much more interesting than the high, top-lit summer sun.

Spring of course, is also the time when nature bursts in to action with flowers and fresh leaves appearing as well as those spring favourites Lambs and Chicks!

So, what is the best way to capture Spring and how should you prepare for a photographic outing to capture it?

For flowers, Daffodils are the most widely seen sign of spring and make great subjects for your camera. You can take a wide view and include Daffodils as part of a landscape or cityscape - most public parks and buildings will have a carpet of Daffodils nearby - or go close and look for colour and patterns. Daffodils are normally planted in clusters so it should be easy to get a great viewpoint. Shoot low so you capture the full beauty of the flower and we suggest you switch your camera white balance to the cloudy setting as this will give a slight warming effect and prevent auto white balance from being confused by the overall yellow colour.

Many attractive buildings will have a variety of flowers which will make great foreground interest for your shots.

Watch out too for flower displays at florist shops or market stalls - most will not mind you photographing the flowers on display - especially if you ask first.

Lens choice, anything from a fisheye to a 600mm can be used for Daffodil shots - try shots at small apertures to get as much as possible in focus and some with your lens wide open to concentrate on a specific plane of focus blowing the foreground and background out of focus. Mount your camera on a tripod and use a Neutral Density filter  - the Lee Big Stopper is ideal -to get your exposure time up to as long as possible and then shoot on a windy day to get lovely swirling effects as the blooms are blown around on the wind.

Try also using a polarising filter to intensify the colours - especially if you are shooting on a day where there is a blue sky.

With all flower shots, try shooting from different angles - including with the light in front of you as then you can get lovely backlit effects as the sun passes through the translucent petals. Make sure your lens is clean and using a lens hood will help you combat flare.

Spring weather can be changeable to watch out for sudden changes in weather conditions as after a spring shower you can take great images as the air has literally been cleaned of atmospheric pollution by the rain and everything looks fresher and cleaner. Spring also often has early morning mist or fog so check the forecast and if this is predicted plan to get up early and get to your location by sunrise so you can capture the beauty of the sunrise and the changes as the sun burns through the mist.

The lovely low sun is great for illuminating colourful buildings and emphasising texture too. Watch out for reflective buildings or surfaces nearby which will let you shoot some great abstracts.

Bluebells are another spring flower that are great to photograph but as they tend to be present in woodland you may need a tripod. Watch also your colour balance in these conditions as it is quite difficult to get the Blue colour to register correctly. Consider setting a manual white balance by taking a piece of white paper or card and setting the white balance using that - or as an ideal solution try the Datacolor Spyder Cube (now with a £10 saving!) - a great gadget for getting perfect white balance in any conditions.

If you are within travelling distance of Lincolnshire, Norfolk or Cornwall then a visit at this time of year to the fields of Tulips is well worthwhile and makes a great landscape shot.

Above all, in springtime, take the chance to really look around you as things are literally 'springing up' all over the place and subjects for your camera are all around you.

If you'd like to learn more about outdoor photography, why not take a look at our range of GMC books, covering a wide range photography based subjects from specific camera guides through to books dedicated to outdoor photography, macro photography and much more.

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