Most of you are aware I take a lot of photos. It is a rare occasion that my camera is not to be found on the seat beside me in the car ready to catch that illusive shot. Of course there are certain rules one must play by if one is going to be taking photos while driving, or walking over someone's property. I thought I'd share a bit of what I have learned with those of you who also might be considering this addictive hobby.
First of all, keep your camera with you and ready to use. You can have the best camera on earth and be a great photographer, but if you don't have it with you, you're going to miss those shots. Pack an extra battery. There is nothing more frustrating than having a dead battery.
When you're on a road anywhere check your rear view mirror before you stop and make sure no one is approaching from behind. If it is an animal that is moving and there is another vehicle in sight, let it go. It's not worth a possible accident.
If something off the road catches your eye, pull well off the road or better yet, if there is an approach handy park there. Turn off your car. If weather is dry a running vehicle can be a safety hazard. Besides why waste the fuel.
If you are going to enter a pasture or fenced area to take pictures, DO NOT open any gates. Park and walk. If there are animals grazing nearby, stay out. Always be respectful of the fact that you are on someone else's land.
If you smoke, leave them in the car. Cigarettes have no place when one is stomping across the prairie.
When taking pictures of old buildings be respectful. Don't force doors open. Don't break windows. If the doors are open be very careful if you should decide to enter a building. Floors may not be safe to walk on. Leave the place as you found it. Most folks won't mind you taking photos if that is all you do.
If possible, gain permission before entering any property. I confess this is something I don't often do in advance. It seems I learn who owns old yard sites after I have been there. Investing in an RM map can be helpful or stopping at the nearest farm can be as well. Sometimes this will lead to the history of the place you wish to photograph.
Did I mention Do Not open gates! Or if you do get permission first! Some gates are a lot more difficult to close than they are to open. You don't want to be responsible for a herd of cattle getting out of a pasture.
Driving old seasonal roads often turns up gems and there is rarely any traffic to deal with, but don't get so caught up looking around that you forget to keep an eye on the road!
Patience is a must if you want to take photos of animals. Sometimes I sit and wait - and wait, but it generally pays off.
Something else I do is make a certain amount of noise as I approach old buildings. This gives little critters time to dive for cover. One does not want to surprise a skunk or other creatures.
Taking your photos in the early morning or evening will give the best light. I know this isn't always possible and we often have to take what Mother Nature provides for us. If you can head out right after a storm, the light is often incredible.
When shooting old buildings try different angles and don't be scared to off centre your subject. Get down on the ground and take a picture upwards. Look for texture and color. What stands out when you first lay eyes on the building you've chosen? Taking a wild flower bloom from ground level changes the entire perspective. Most cameras come with a zoom lens of some sort. Play with your camera. Get comfortable with it.
A good exercise is to walk out into your yard and find a couple dozen pictures to take. Be creative. Is the sun playing behind leaves or a bloom? Is there raindrops on something? Is there a flower that has gone to seed? Does your dog sleep upside down? Load your finished product on your computer and see what works for you. Like a lot of things the more photos you take, the more confident you will get.
Springtime is a great time to dig out the camera and get in the habit of taking it with you. Get those first wild booms and young livestock. The possibilities are endless. Happy snapping!