This week we had a session about nature photography and I was excited to learn a lot of new techniques to experiment with on my mobile phone. The session was not aimed at experts, rather people who have their phone in their pocket all the time when they are out and about and who want to take better photos or be able to edit them afterwards to improve them. It was run by Scott from Eolas Outdoor Learning whose video you may have seen in December in our advent calendar.
Taking photos has been one of the things that I have come back to time and time again during this whole period of lockdown. From my office (that’s a grand title for the room where the ironing board has been re-purposed as a standing desk) I can see over the tops of the houses to the hills in the distance. During the first lockdown last year, I took a photograph of the same view every morning before I started work. The photographs aren’t that great, but when I put them together in a collage, it’s a wonderful reminder of how amazing the weather was despite everything else going on in the world. Taking photos of nature is a simple way to enhance your connection to the natural world and has clear links to the 5 ways to wellbeing, encouraging you to slow down and really open your eyes.
Last year when we started our instagram account as a way to connect with every day nature, I pulled together this infographic and I got it out again this week after our photography session. It's going to be so difficult for many of us, particularly those who have spent much of the last year inside shielding, to get back outside. Photography can be a wonderful tool to encourage people to get out and get active, and to really notice what is happening in the natural world, without the focus being on human activity and busyness. Of course, Spring is a brilliant time to do this too, I saw my first blossom the other day, and when I was out in K-Woodlands yesterday the signs of Spring were everywhere despite the gale force winds and driving rain.
So many of us do carry our phones, most of which have great camera functions, but the temptation can be to take a hundred photos rather than just one. Scott encouraged us to really think about what we are taking the photo of, to get down low, up close, experiment with different angles and to try and take one good photo. In a world where there is so much available to us at the click of a button, and excess has become the norm for many of us, this is a mindfulness technique that I want to develop personally. Despite this, when I saw a rainbow this morning, I quickly pulled out my phone and snapped several not very good photos. I'd argue that any photo of a rainbow is a good one! If you take any photos of nature this week, please do share them with us on social media.