Nature Photography at Home: 10 Ideas for Lockdown
As nature photographers, the global lockdown we are now faced with is stopping us from getting out with our cameras. Whether this is your hobby or profession, losing this creative release is not making things any easier.
To help you through this, I’ve been searching through the Nature TTL virtual library and digging out our best articles that are perfect for this extended period of “time off.”
If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, then you’re onto a winner. If not, carrying a camera with you during designated exercise periods is no problem. So you can’t go out to your local kingfisher hide for hours on end, but perhaps it’s time to try your hand at a different style?
With that in mind, here are some ideas for nature photography at home – or near to home – that you can use.
1. Butterflies and other beasties
It’s spring in the northern hemisphere and we’ve already had some fairly nice weather in the UK – shame about the timing, though.
Nevertheless, our favourite macro subjects are still running business as usual. Dragonflies are buzzing around ponds, and butterflies will soon be fluttering past the window.
Try honing your skills as a macro photographer. Remember, you don’t necessarily need to splash out on a macro lens – check out the NiSi close-up filter for a quick and cheap conversion of existing lenses.
- How to Photograph Butterflies & Insects
- Ideas for Garden Nature and Wildlife Photography
- How to Photograph Insects In-flight
- How to Photograph Dragonfly Emergence
2. Photograph the stars from the garden
If you’re lucky enough to live out of the city, why not try some star photography from the garden? This is an area we have written a huge amount of content for.
This is a great way to pass the time, and it’s totally mesmerising. If you’ve never tried it, you’re missing out!
- Star Photography Tutorials: The Complete Guide
- 5 Tips for Photographing Star Trails
- How to Get Sharp and In Focus Stars in Starscape Photos
3. Search for pond residents
Got a pond? Well, you’re sorted! There is endless inspiration to be gathered from your pond. Playing host to everything from bugs to frogs and bathing birds, ponds are going to attract plenty of wildlife.
- How to Photograph Pond Life
- How to Photograph Wildlife in Your Garden
- How to Photograph Frogs and Toads in Water
4. Camera traps in the garden
Have you explored the addictive world of wildlife camera trapping? It’s difficult to master and do well, but it is an incredibly rewarding challenge.
If you have a garden, set up a DSLR camera trap and see what creatures are patrolling your lawn at night.
Perhaps you know a landowner who will happily let you set one up (where legal). Take your lockdown walking breaks to go and check it, change the batteries and memory card, and then head home.
We have a number of articles worth reading around camera trapping:
- 7 Tips for Wildlife Camera Trap Photography
- How to Make a DSLR Camera Trap Housing
- How to Camera Trap Wildlife with a DSLR Camera
Daffodils are up and about right now, and there’s plenty more floral inspiration to come. Usually find yourself photographing wildlife? Well, now is the perfect time to expand your skillset. Set yourself the challenge of capturing something interesting and more than a “basic” flower shot – how can you make your image different?
If you’re stuck in an apartment and can’t get to green spaces, why not order yourself some seeds or bulbs and grow your subject indoors? Set up a backdrop, good lighting, and see what studio macro work you can put together!
Some recommended reading:
- Ideas for Photographing Wildflowers
- How to Photograph Bluebells
- How to Photograph Flowers in a Landscape Scene
- Macro: How to Take Low-key Close-ups
6. Urban wildlife
Perhaps you can’t stalk through the streets looking for foxes and other urban wildlife, but a lot of those subjects will be sneaking through gardens.
Try your hand at some urban wildlife photography – but with a homely twist! Can you shoot from your garden window? Set up interesting props – spades, plant pots etc. – and see how creative you can get.
- How to Photograph Urban Wildlife
- How to Photograph Foxes
- Urban Wildlife: How to Find and Photograph City Foxes
7. More unusual macro subjects
Depending on where you live, it’s very possible that we’ll wake up to some late frosts. There’s also going to be frogspawn in ponds and other more minute details to look out for.
Once again, polish off that macro lens (or one adapted with that NiSi filter) and get to work!
8. Try a time-lapse
Something anyone can do, even from indoors, is to shoot a time-lapse. It might be of a natural scene, or it might be the flickering lights of a city at night. Either way, set up your tripod and try time-lapsing. We’ve all got plenty of time on our hands, so why not improve this skill?
9. Set up a garden hide
Throwing back to some of our oldest tutorials on the website, have you ever considered setting up your own hide and feeding station in the garden? You could even try a reflection pool to get beautiful images of your subjects.
- How to Build a Photography Hide
- What’s the Best Portable Wildlife Photography Hide?
- How to Build a Bird Reflection Pool
- How to Set Up a Feeding Station for Wildlife
10. Learn more with our videos and eBooks
As well as producing free tutorials, we also have a popular YouTube channel and a variety of premium eBooks that let you dive deep into different areas of photography. Why not check them out and see what you can learn?
How are you coping?
This is a difficult time for everyone around the world – some more than others – but there is no harm in making it a little easier for yourself. How are you coping with lockdown, photographically speaking?
Let us know your top tips and the things you are managing to capture on camera during this strange period. Enjoy, and stay healthy!