Weekly Warm-Up: Colorful, Creative Nature Photos for Spring

Hi Creating Keepsakes Blog Readers!

I hope you have seen the March/April 2011 issue of Creating Keepsakes magazine and read the article I wrote about taking colorful and creative photos for spring. The article focuses on ways to improve your photography and show your subject’s personalities through use of backgrounds, clothing, and props.

Now I want to talk a little about how to take colorful and creative nature photos. The weather is warmer, there are flowers blooming everywhere, and bugs and birds are out enjoying it all! So grab your camera, go out for a nature walk, and capture the beauty of spring!

Use a High Shutter Speed:

Hummingbirds move fast, so to freeze the action, I had to use a high shutter speed (over 1,000 if possible) and just keep shooting! I took about 12 pictures and only a couple of them were sharp, but one or two is all you need! You can also increase your shutter speed by switching to sports mode.

Settings: Shutter Speed 1/1,600, Aperture 3.2, ISO 250, and Focal Length 200

Change Focus to Al Servo:

Besides increasing your shutter speed, you can also change one more setting to assure you get tack sharp images of moving subjects. Change the AF mode to Al Servo by pressing the AF Drive button on top and using the dial to switch the mode. The camera will search for the moving subject and lock focus right when you push the shutter button. By moving my camera with the bee, I was able to get several sharp images of him flying around and landing on the flowers. If you switch to sports mode, the focus automatically changes to Al Servo.

Settings: Shutter Speed 2000, Aperture 2.8, ISO 100, and Focal Length 200

Use a wide lens opening to blur the background:

To get a shot like this one, find flowers that are in front of a shady background, but they are side-lit by the late afternoon sun. Keep your aperture as wide open as possible (lowest  f-stop number) so the background is blurred and only the flowers are in focus. If your background is in the shade, it will appear to be black behind the flowers making them really pop and the side light will make them look almost transparent. You can also switch to the  portrait setting on your camera to decrease the depth of field or blur your background.

Settings: Shutter Speed 1/2,500, Aperture 3.5, ISO 400, and Focal Length 135

Use a small lens opening for sharp focus throughout your shot:

When you want a photo to be sharp across the entire image, use a higher f-stop number (smaller opening) or shoot in landscape mode on your camera. I love how the wave in this picture is tack sharp across all parts. My son is actually body-surfing in the middle of that wave! If there is action in your photo, keep your shutter speed high as well to ensure your image is tack sharp.

Settings: Shutter Speed 1/1,000, Aperture 9.0, ISO 200, Focal Length 200

Once you have taken some spectacular nature photos, have fun scrapbooking them to show them off! I enlarged a photo of the hummingbird, used a black background and kept my embellishments simple to really show off the picture.

Happy spring shooting, my CK Friends!

Suzy Plantamura, dream team member

This entry was posted in General Inspiration, Guest Blogger, Technique and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Weekly Warm-Up: Colorful, Creative Nature Photos for Spring

  1. Kim Watson says:

    Fantastic post Suzy! So helpful having all the specific camera info too. I LOVE your photos & gorgeous layout….makes me think of Orange County :o) Hugs!

  2. Cindy Tobey says:

    Great tips Suzy! Thanks for sharing. I loved your article too. :)

  3. Priscilla Wadlow says:

    Thank you so much for these great tips. They are very helpful. Your article was great and to the point.

  4. Chelsey V says:

    Thanks for giving the settings for simpler cameras too! My camera is a Nikon L100 so I have to work with the settings provided. Most articles only give settings for the larger cameras that you have to set manually. So THANKS!

  5. brenda says:

    Thanks for the camera setting info – especially for the digital point & shoot which is what I have. Love the photos and the layout, thanks for sharing your talent!

  6. Sheila L. says:

    Thank you so much for including how to get these results on our digital point & shoot cameras! That is what I have, and most articles leave users like me out in the cold. Can’t wait to try some of these tips! THANKS AGAIN!

  7. Nicole says:

    WoW these pictures are beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  8. AmandaPanda says:

    I love the page you did here! I want to try some of these ideas with the Cherry Blossoms that are opening all over this part of China now! It’s beautiful!

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