My Weekly Dose of Wild (2015): capturing the micro world of webs, wings & woolies


Photography.  It's an amazing way to connect to nature.  It can allow you to immerse yourself in your surroundings.  It can help you see the details and get up close and personal.  It can also help you with identification (after the fact).  It gets you down and "in" the action and challenges you to think like your subject.  How fast is that bird?  Where will that insect jump to?  What is that rabbit moving towards?  Or it can be pictures of an inanimate object, the effects of the sun, wind and rain... It's just such a fun way to document your outdoor adventures.

I stumbled into nature photography by accident.  I started taking photos of plants for my job, documenting the month plants flowered and snapping pictures of new plants that could be added to the Grandmaitre nature reserve list.  Last year, I started taking photos for a personal project - collecting images of my favorite urban nature locations.  As I continued to take pictures of nature spots and plants (which are close to my heart) I noticed that neat insects were "guest starring" in my collection.  And now I'm even taking opportunities to photograph insects when they are not appearing on flora!

There is a whole micro world buzzing and munching and weaving just under our radar and I only notice it when I stop for a bit and look closely.  The web of life is so intricate.  A naturalized flower (that is seen as a weed by many) can actually be an important ecological link.  That milkweed supports more than just monarchs.  The simple Bladder Campion and Daisy Fleabane offers up pollen and nectar to insects that I can't even name!  (And this month I saw so many mama spiders moving egg sacs as I weeded gardens for my landscaping job.)  Getting out a camera slows my high-speed life down and allows me to refocus on the incredible details found outside.  It's made me see everything from a different perspective and highlights that we're all connected in more ways than I've ever imagined.

This is what photography is for me right now.  But photography can be so many things - not just plants or insects!  There is so much to photograph in nature.

For those who want to add to their "life list" - getting out with a camera can augment the birding experience.  Or you can take a picture of a single object - as in the example of "That Tree" project ( a year long photography project of photographing a Burr Oak).  You don't even have to have a fancy camera!  Sunsets are a favorite subject of some including Nancy in Ottawa and documenting a ravine walk was a weekly and sometimes daily account for Jane Flanagan last fall in Toronto.

Photography can be a creative, meditative and challenging hobby.  And it can get you outside!

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