Why nature photography? A good question you may think and one I was asked recently. I must admit it took me back a bit, I have taken nature photography images for the last fifteen years and had an interest in all things to do with nature and the great outdoors since I was a young boy. My immediate response was to say “Oh, I enjoy it” and “It gets me out and about”, though rather glib this did the trick and seemed to satisfy the questioners curiosity.
However, later that evening I got to thinking more deeply about the question “Why Nature Photography”. As I pondered I could see that the answer was indeed going to be much deeper, spiritual almost. So I decided to divide the question into two parts, firstly, how did the question relate to me as a person not just as a photographer, and secondly how has it impacted on my life as a photographer over the years.
“Look at a tree, a flower, a plant. Let your awareness rest upon it. How still they are, how deeply rooted in Being. Allow nature to teach you stillness.” – Eckhart Tolle, “Stillness Speaks: Whispers of Now”
I will start by saying I am passionate about photography, not only is it my livelihood but it is also my hobby. When I am not working I am thinking about different personal photo projects, trying experimental imagery and doing research for the next photo trip. It is this passion, I believe, that is fundamental to both the success and enjoyment of any activity and this is certainly true of nature photography.
So “Why nature Photography”. Well, it makes me feel good to be outdoors reconnecting with nature and to be able to share with the wildlife the spiritual place that we all have inside. Whilst I accept that not all of us are sensitive to our built in connection with nature there are times when I feel as though I am totally at one with the natural environment around me, just being in the moment with no distractions. Sitting there, waiting patiently for that perfect moment to press the shutter, I feel as though I have become a part of nature itself and become so engrossed that any troubles I may have had just melt away. This is the ‘spiritual’ part I referred to earlier, this strong bond with nature that is very powerful and a strong reminder of where we came from. Whilst of course nature photography also lets us record and share the splendour of nature and the environment.
Furthermore, this strong connection with nature has, I believe, made me a better photographer over the years. It has taught me to be more patient and tolerant and to take a slower more methodical, considered approach to my photography work. It has enabled me to record my emotional reaction to a particular situation as well. There have been many occasions, when, photographing in the heat of a hectic wedding when one of the guests has said to me “… you are so calm, how do you do it? …”. Well, and you may laugh, I put it down in no small part to nature photography and for that I am grateful.
“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.” – John Burroughs
Have you considered “Why nature photography?”
Well, I have laid bare my soul but have you ever stopped to consider “Why Nature Photography?” If you have and you would like to share your thoughts then I would be really interested to hear your views.