Ten tips for backyard photography devos...

With the most delightfully cool days, steroid induced bursts of energy and considerably less pain and swelling, I've had more Pollywog Creek wandering hours these past four days than all winter and spring. It's been a gift of time and well-being for which I'm most grateful.

Hundreds of photos from these hours are waiting to be edited or deleted - a task I'll consider more seriously when the weather changes and I'm forced to begin tapering off prednisone.

Nature photography enhances my devotional life - to walk and pray and discover beauty in the thickets, fields and around the pond - life rising from dead places, symetry and order in the life cycles of insects and wildflowers and the way all of life is nourished by light and rain and good rich soil.

It's deeply satisfying to sense that this is God's direction for me at this moment in time - and to offer the works of my hands (and camera) up to Him and trust that He will do with them as He pleases - even if every lesson learned from clinging vines and loud-mouthed blue jays is for me alone.

For those of you who'd like to have morning and/or evening photo-devos in your own backyard, I have a few suggestions:
  • Always begin with prayer. Ask God to speak to you - to open your eyes to glimpses of His glory and the beauty in the not-so-beautiful around you.
  • The best outdoor light is the hour or two just after sunrise and the hour or two just before sunset. 
  • The weight of morning dew on insects makes it easier to get close enough for photos. It also adds sparkle to the pictures. 
  • Wear clothing colors that blend in with the surroundings. Avoid wearing bright colors.
  • Wear quiet shoes. Avoid flip-flops and sandals. I like to wear ballet slippers or old heavy socks without shoes. It's much easier to quietly sneak up on something. 
  • Get as close to your subject as you can. Fill the frame, leaving as little "white space" in the photo as possible.
  • Practice patience. Be willing to sit, lean against a tree or stand in one place for long periods of time. 
  • Work with what you've got. Wildlife will not cooperate. You can't tell a screech owl to get out of the shadows or a blue jay to move out of the leaves. If you move around too much trying to get the best angle, your subject is likely to flee.
  • Expect the unexpected. It's okay to have a particular photography subject in mind - but be open to surprises elsewhere. If I'm too focused on duplicating a prior wildlife encounter or experience, I'm likely to miss something new God wants to show me. 
  • Make it a habit to keep your camera batteries charged. At the end of every day, my camera batteries are placed in the chargers to be ready by morning. Put fully charged batteries in your camera before you walk out the door.
Do you have a tip or suggestion you could add to that list?