Local parks are great places for anyone who wants to practice their photography. The reason being that there are so many different photo opportunities available without the need to travel too far away from your home. So here are 8 reasons why your local park is a great place to visit to improve your photography.
Easy and quick to get to
The first great thing about your local park is that it’ll be close to you and so it is easy and quick to get to. This in itself will ensure that you are more likely to actually get outside and take photos. Often one of the big barriers to anyone wanting to improve their photography is the effort that it takes to get somewhere to practice. If you have to get up in the middle of the night and walk for a few hours, it becomes a lot less motivating than driving somewhere even for a few hours in the afternoon to practice your photography.
You can photograph people
Photographing people is one of the things that amateur photographers often struggle with. Shyness prevents them from approaching people to take their photos. There will often be people in parks walking, exercising or even just on family days out. So this provides a great opportunity to practice photographing people. There are other advantages of photographing people in a park rather than in the street as well. For one, people might not be in as much of a rush in a park than say if they were going to work somewhere else. You will also have the added benefit of less clutter behind your subject than if you were photographing them in a street.
Just make sure you use some common sense and for example, you may not want to photograph someone sunbathing without asking permission.
Flowers, fauna and insects
For those who love photographing close-ups or are into macro photography, parks are great places. The array of flowers and plants mean there will be plenty to photograph. For those who want to capture macro shots of insects, again parks might be the best location for it. But the other great thing about parks is that the plants and scenes will change in different seasons. This will give you a great opportunity to visit at different times of the year and in different conditions.
Great for wildlife
While you may not exactly get the big 5, local parks will have some wildlife and birds that you can photograph. Again, this type of photography is tough to master. So if you want to maximise your chances of capturing great shots when say you are on a safari, get practising in your local park first. You can iron out the mistakes so that when you are somewhere more exotic you don’t miss out on a shot.
Any type of action photography or sports photography can be really difficult. For amateur photographers, it’s actually pretty hard to just practice this type of photography as you can’t just turn up to a sports stadium with your kit to practice. Most stadiums and arenas won’t even allow you to take your equipment in and of course, even then you will be sitting among the crowd and not pitchside. So a local park can present the best opportunity to photograph sports. It will allow you to experiment with settings and composition but also the tricky part of being able to nail your focus on moving subjects.
Even if sports photography isn’t your area of interest, it is still good practice and will help you, in the long run, to be able to capture moving subjects.
Dealing with contrasts
Depending on the kind of park that you have near you, there may be wooded areas where on a sunny day you get harsh shadows and contrasts. As the sun shines through the trees, it will mean there will be very dark areas and very bright areas. This can be tough to photograph and especially to expose for correctly. By getting your practice in when you are at a local park, it will mean that when you are at a location or even a shoot, you will have the knowledge and the skills to be able to take the shots that you need to take.
Try out your equipment
Even if you are an experienced photographer, when you get a new camera or accessory, it’s important to test it before actually needing it. This is not only so you know how to use it properly and get to know all the features of it, but to actually test how it performs. For example one of my tests, when I buy a new camera, is to check how it performs at high ISO settings. I need to know at what ISO there will be an acceptable level of noise. A park is great as there will often be low light areas. I simply take a load of photos at different ISOs keeping the shutter speed and aperture the same. When I check the images on a computer, I then get a good indication of how high I can set my ISO and still have an acceptable level of noise.
Experiment with different techniques
Let’s be honest, no photographer will want to risk trying something completely new when they are shooting something for a client or are at a great location. It can be daunting trying out an untested new technique when you have one attempt at taking the shots that you want. But your local park is a much better and easier place to practice this sort of thing. Because it’s somewhere you can get to easily, it means you won’t be as afraid of missing out on a shot. When you are happy that the new technique you are trying out works well, you can use it in other places with more confidence.
Local parks provide a lot of opportunities for photographers of all levels without the need to travel far. So why not head out to your local park and practice some of the things that you enjoy photographing. You never know, you might actually end up with some amazing photos.
Photo credits: Kav Dadfar – All rights reserved. No usage without permission. Dreamstime.