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Local Photography Ideas

Sunset At My Neighborhood Park

Local photography ideas don’t have to be too tough to brainstorm. Today I want to write about some quick ideas to make a fast shooting session successful. By this, I also mean less time consuming, by staying near your home as well. Sometimes we do not have much time to plan a shoot. We might realize we have an hour to squeeze in a session on a weekend or perhaps after work. If that’s the case, it’s important to have your photo game on lock down and consider a few things to increase your odds of success.

Local Photography Ideas

Most likely, if you live in town,  you have a park near you. So that’s a point of emphasis today. Let’s shoot at the park. Lots of times you can find local birds within the trees and perhaps areas of water if you have them at your neighborhood park. The particular park near my house has a pond with some ducks and geese, and occasionally some other visitors are you can see below.

Feeding Time for an Egret

Feeding Time for an Egret

A Quick Setup

I didn’t bring my camera bag with me, so I had just my body and a single lens, ready to go. My lens of choice was my Sigma 150mm macro. And yes, this is a spectacular lens for macro, but it also does some excellent portrait work as well! I wanted to shoot close and tight so that I could isolate my subjects and also attempt to eliminate any distractions in the background with a tight shot.

Goose Macro

Isolating My Subject

I did not bring a tripod simply because I knew I would be shooting fast and handheld, with enough light outside, just before sunset. The whole idea was not to make this complicated and give it too much thought. Local photography ideas do not have to be too difficult, just don’t over think the idea. If you don’t have much time, then so be it. Make the most of what you do have.

Increase Your Odds By Thinking Smart

I decided to shoot within an hour from sunset. This would give me better odds for non-harsh lighting, and maybe even some sunset magic. On this particular evening that panned out for me with a lovely sunset captured along with the egret hanging out in the pond. If it were a clear day and mid afternoon, there would have been some really bright highlights to deal with that could have caused exposure issues. This is an example of thinking smart and increasing the odds in your favor. I also considered this particular park, because it’s never crowded. Another small factor that helped out. I had free reign on the pond to move where I wanted. It’s a small factor to consider, but it helps. A few tiny factors and you have a big chance for success.

This lens is also one of my favorites that I own. Which means I am very familiar with it. I know it’s strengths and weaknesses. This familiarity will go a long way in my successful shoot. Shooting prime at 150mm is second nature to me, so I knew my distance and made short work of framing my birds with quick and careful compositions. Having said this, perhaps consider this is a way to get to know your equipment even better. Practice will get you where you need to be, and every session helps.

Think about the seasons and weather in general. Can you use this to your advantage? Can you capture the mood and portray it in your photo? Maybe there are trees and flowers in bloom because it’s the right season?

Camera Settings

My settings for the evening were pretty simple. I used aperture mode and an exposure compensation of -1. I deliberately underexposed because even though the sun was setting, it was still very bright. And with RAW files it’s easy enough to bump my exposure up in processing later. My ISO was relatively high so that I could obtain higher shutter speeds in case the was some immediate action. After all, there were birds in the area.

Visualize The End Result

It’s been said time and time again because it’s vital. Attempt to see your vision before it happens. This can be as simple as shooting a close up and then thinking that you will crop it in even tighter to show off that detail. It can also include creativity like colorizations, textures, and even fixes if needed.

Local photography ideas can be tricky to come up with, but I encourage it! It’s a great way to sharpen your skills and pays off when it’s time for the epic shoots!

On a final thought, I want to point out that even walking away without any “keeper” images does not equal an unsuccessful shoot. Take it for a learning experience. What didn’t you do, that you could do next time? Experimenting and even doing things wrong are essential to learning how to do this right! You don’t know if you don’t try.

If you enjoy birds, head over to my Bird Gallery!