5 ways to celebrate Nature Photography Day

June 13, 2016, 10:31 a.m.
Photographer standing at cliffs
Photo: Ditty_about_summer/Shutterstock

Nature Photography Day rolls around every year on June 15. It's a perfect excuse to get outside with your camera and celebrate the beauty of nature. Here are five ideas of what to photograph to get you inspired to take great photos of nature all year long.

Set your alarm for sunrise: The most beautiful light of the day can be found at either sunrise or sunset. Plenty of people remember to go enjoy a sunset, but it's a bit tougher to get yourself out of a warm comfortable bed early in the morning. The effort is worth it, though, to get up and out to a beautiful location to photograph landscapes with the sun just coming up over the horizon. We have a guide on how to get the most out of your sunrise and sunset photos.

Focus on the flora: It's easy to get caught up on grand landscapes or the wildlife living within them. But on Nature Photography Day, stop to smell the roses. Or at least photograph them. Pack your macro lens, some reflectors and a mist bottle so you can create your own dew drops, and see what beautiful and colorful images you can come up with. Here are examples of amazing flower photography to get you inspired.

dog by waterfall The tempo of a waterfall can calm everyone in your pack down. (Photo: dezy/Shutterstock)

Zen out at a river or waterfall: Simply plunking yourself down on a river bank or in front of a waterfall and quietly enjoying the sounds, smells and sights can do wonders to calm a stressed mind. It can also make for some truly beautiful photographs, especially if you know the tricks for creating that soft, misty look for flowing water in your images. Perhaps the way you celebrate Nature Photography Day is by spending a few hours playing with long-exposure photos of water a local waterfall, river, creek or even ocean shoreline.

Enjoy your own backyard: You don't have to travel far to celebrate Nature Photography Day. In fact, you can take extraordinary photographs of wildlife in your own backyard (or that of a friend!). If you're interested in birds, check out our guide on making professional-quality bird photographs. The helpful tips include taking a little time to set up natural looking perches, and how to set up different types of perches. Aside from birds, you can look around for interesting beetles, spiders, lizards and other critters that you can photograph as the go about their day.

Take a walk in a city park: City parks are a wonderful place to spot wildlife and enjoy nature. Places like Golden Gate Park, Central Park, New Orleans' City Park and many others are hot spots for enjoying nature within the hubbub of busy metropolitan areas. Even small parks can be a great site for landscapes, wildlife, or even macros of everything from lichens and mosses to insects. If you don't have time to leave your city or town on Nature Photography Day, try heading over to the park and keeping a careful eye out for hawks, owls, songbirds, snakes and lizards, insects of all kinds, native plants and more. In our how-to guide for city nature photography, we cover gear, tips and tricks and some simple guidelines to follow for ethical photographs.

If you're looking for even more ways to get involved with Nature Photography Day, including sharing photographs and enjoying those of fellow photographers, check out the website of the founding organization, North American Nature Photography Association, which has many more ideas for taking part.