April to August are busy times of the year for the nature photographer. With gardens, hedgerows, woodland and grassland literally buzzing with life. Whether it’s wildflowers or insects for the macro photographer, seabird colonies for the bird photographer or baby foxes for the mammal photographer there is something on offer for all during the spring and summer months.
The trouble is knowing where to start first. In order to concentrate the mind it’s always a good idea to sit down just after Christmas and make a plan for the forthcoming years nature photography, that’s if you have time, as you’ll probably be snowed under processing your latest winter wildfowl, or winter Robin pictures. It doesn’t have to be anything grand, a simple list will do. Then you can plan your photography around this list for the forthcoming year, and anything you failed to achieve or want to improve on can be added to next year’s list.
A simple yearly nature photography project plan could be based around the seasons, the months or target species. I tend to photograph birds in the late Autumn, winter and spring; then wild flowers and insects in the spring and summer months before moving on to fungi, and autumn colour. I used to photograph Red grouse and Puffins in the Summer months followed by deer rutting and Grey Seals during the Autumn; however the growing popularity of Nature Photography nowadays has lead to many of the sites that I used to frequent being overwhelmed by many, many telephoto wielding photographers with little respect for field craft and ethics. So I follow my own path these days, and my images are unique because of it.
So one of my typical year plans (which actually spanned over a couple of years, when all was said and done) went something like this, and these were the favourite images obtained from these simple projects that I set myself.
January – February; Winter Wildfowl in flight, landing.
Locations: WWT Reserves / local parks and reservoirs
Tufted Duck 000120
March – April : Woodland Flowers
Locations : Private woodland / Wildlife trust reserves / country lanes
Wood Anemone 000019
Lesser Celandine 00072
May – September : Butterflies & Insects
Locations : Wildlife trust reserves // garden
Male Common Blue Butterfly 000580
Small Copper Butterfly 000191
Female Meadow Brown Butterfly basking 000012
Lesser Marsh Grasshopper 072a
Newly emerged Five-spot Burnet moth 000023
Nursery Web Spider 000014 ( female guarding young in nursery web)
October – December : Garden Birds
Blue Tit 000003
Blue Tit 000059
Over Christmas period : Robins
Location : Garden
This year my plan didn’t really get going until late June. So it merely consists of the following small projects to see me through to Christmas. I will try to concentrate solely on these subjects, and try not to be side tracked, (which I usually am).
July : Butterflies
August: Dragonflies (maybe? Probably not, too busy doing boring stuff)
September: November: Fungi and Autumn Colour
November: Grey Squirrel and Jay collecting Acorns
December: Garden Birds (note to self, repair hide)