Ah, spring. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s that time of year again. Fresh starts, fresh air and time to get outside (hopefully).

Sometimes it’s just enough to get out and enjoy photographing whatever it is you can find. Just to be out with the camera is all that’s needed. Here are some things to be on the lookout for if you get a chance to go to a local park, forest preserve, arboretum or even your own backyard.

New spring growth

Some of the first signs of spring are the buds of the trees and flowers starting to show up. You may need to look high or low to not miss some of it. The light on the new pine needles in the first image really caught my eye. It was so ‘new’ green.

These little purple flowers (both types) are all over in areas near where I live in the Midwest. The thing is, they’re quite small and if you’re not paying attention, actually looking for them, you’ll end up stepping on them.

Because I was just happy to have nice weather and be out wandering a local arboretum, I wasn’t overly concerned with the technical side of creating images. (Not that I am very often anyway.) This led me to be open to experimenting and just pushing the shutter button at times to see what would happen. I had my Canon 6D with a Tamron 100-400mm lens on it. I set it on Auto for a bit and just put it on the ground, near where these little flowers were.

I had an idea in my head of what the images might turn out like. Might. When you just blindly photograph you know you’re going to end up with some unusable images. That’s just how it works. But, you don’t know if you don’t try.

Spring wildlife

Of course one of the major spring awakenings is of the wildlife. Birds, squirrels, turtles and frogs are everywhere. Stop and listen. You’ll hear them before you see them. Once you figure out where they are then take some time to watch them. Position yourself in a good spot to create a decent composition when a bird comes flying in.

Also, be on the lookout for babies. Last spring we had both fox and squirrel families running around our backyard. Although at some point the squirrel population became a little less, thanks to the foxes but they made for some amazing photos. I’ll spare you the gory details and photos.

Throw the technical stuff out the window

I mentioned this above when I photographed the little purple flowers. In that case I put my camera on Auto and let it do the work. There are plenty of times where not having to think about or worry about what your settings are or whether the shot is going to turn out or not, really matters.

Sometimes it is just the act of photographing that matters. I don’t know about you, but being out with my camera is good for my soul. The act of being outside, of wandering, breathing in the fresh air, listening to nature and taking it all in is really what is more important than any image I might create. As long as I am creating as well. I may get home and trash every single shot I took, but you know what? It was not time wasted, I still almost always learn something when I’m out and like anything, practice keeps us sharp.

Take a moment

This is the one thing that I think so many photographers do not do. Yes, this is an article about spring but this applies to all seasons and almost all situations when you’re out taking photos. Stop. Put your camera down.

After being cooped up all winter it’s easy to just want to get out and go crazy taking images. If you don’t slow down though and take the time to actually survey a scene you’ll more than likely not capture the essence of where you were. Sure, you’ll possibly end up with a lovely shot but there will be no soul to it.

So, take a moment. Look around you in all directions including up and down. Watch where you’re stepping, take a look up in the trees you never know what you might miss if you don’t.


I hope you’re able to get out and enjoy your spring (or fall if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere). Take it all in. Spring is a great time for new beginnings, starting fresh and new. Be inspired by nature and how it renews itself each season.