How to Take Great Spring Photos

April 13, 2009 | Mark Goldstein | Photography Techniques | 18 Comments |
How to Take Great Spring Photos Image

Rather than be asked which is my favourite season, I am often asked which is my favourite month; a question that used to require some thought. I guess it has taken a while to ‘get to know’ the characteristics of each month yet, over the years, I have come to expect a pattern of sorts; or at least I thought I had! However, that is another debate and I will leave that to the climate change experts of whom, I must admit, I tend to meet a fair number these days!

I am fairly secure though in knowing which are my least favourite months and, whilst happy to be contradicted, I must admit to having no great fondness for August and September. The lovely season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is yet to come - in late September and of course October.

It would seem to me that in every respect, these summer months (for the time being anyway) are the antithesis of April and May. Not wishing to be the cause of any controversy, but I find the latter half of August and the first two thirds of September utterly uninspiring from a photographic perspective.

Of course, we are talking about the UK here. If I were to find myself in the heart of Namaqualand, in the Northern Cape, then I would no doubt discover an August landscape (given a prior, good, rainy season) resplendent with vast seas of the loveliest wild flowers.

How to Take Great Spring Photos

So, back to the UK. With the exception of harvest time, no flat, matt, tired August landscape for me, at least not inland.

Although I am not always able to stick to it, I never care to depart from our shores during the spring months. ‘Never leave the UK in April or May’! If travelling to countries of similar latitudes, then yes, perhaps, but irrespective of landscape photography, there is so much rebirth going on at this time it seems sad to miss it. It is all so short lived after all. In particular I have memories of some staggeringly magnificent skies in April and May and a good sky can play a pivotal role in a grand landscape image. Consider photographing from a western facing shore during these two great months and, given some unpredictable weather, be prepared to remain there in happy anticipation of an image to be made. A turbulent sky is always worthwhile pursuing, providing some much needed gravitas to turn the image away from looking merely ‘pretty’.

How to Take Great Spring Photos

Whilst I love to photograph wild moorland and mountain landscapes, I have equal affection for images that arise from man’s interaction with the land, often finding the precision of an immaculately ploughed field adjacent to a stretch of land tinted with the almost fluorescent light green blush of a spring crop to be very appealing. A little elevation will often afford an overview of a field system where still vibrant harvest stubble contrasts well with a milky green neighbour.

In April, the once intriguing brilliance of oilseed rape has now become too overwhelming in my view. The need for bio fuels has resulted in much of the southern part of our tiny country being drenched in yellow emulsion and, whilst there is no doubt that these vast acres of canary yellow are indeed striking, especially when set against a field of linseed they have become just ‘too much’ perhaps.

How to Take Great Spring Photos

But with the light touch of spring, our noble broad-leaved trees, that for the long winter months stand, seemingly resigned to the fact that they may never be in leaf again, very suddenly come back to life. On a warm, early April day, the leaves of the beech, the lime, the Lombardy poplar and the lovely silver birch, in particular, seem to sizzle and sparkle in the first sunshine of the day and for those who like to work in infrared (digital or film) there is perhaps this window of about two weeks when infrared radiation from the leaves will be at its height.

Entry Tags

photos, how to, landscapes, waite, charlie, charlie waite, great, spring, seasons

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Your Comments

18 Comments | Newest Oldest First | Post a Comment

#1 Tushar

This article did not tell ‘anything’ about ‘how to’ take good pics, only sort of ‘when to’ take and ‘what to’ take.
May be, Better luck next time!

5:27 pm - Monday, April 13, 2009

#2 Nik

Some good thoughts in that article.

5:40 pm - Monday, April 13, 2009

#3 photographer photographers editorial

Thanks for sharing

6:51 am - Tuesday, April 14, 2009

#4 Christopher Harland

Super article. Inspirational.

10:25 am - Tuesday, April 14, 2009

#5 ciare harte

if u have the right camera you can take great photos in any month!!  :)

11:44 am - Tuesday, April 14, 2009

#6 WS

“if u have the right camera you can take great photos in any month”

as in

“If you have the right pot you can make great food with any ingredients”???

:-p by Wei

1:22 pm - Tuesday, April 14, 2009

#7 Tonny

What a misleading title. Big disappointment !

4:29 pm - Tuesday, April 14, 2009

#8 James

It reads like a guys diary. One of the least informative ‘tutorials’ on here yet! (I normally enjoy them..)

4:56 pm - Tuesday, April 14, 2009

#9 Clifford

If you have the right camera? Come on guys, if you have the ‘right’ eye and know how your camera works. I thinks that’s what you really mean. I would be happy to read the thoughts of Charlie Waite any day just as I am happy to read the thoughts of David Hurn in “On Being a Photographer”

6:05 pm - Tuesday, April 14, 2009

#10 Mandeno Moments

There are those who may suggest that the camera intervenes and removes the individual from appreciating the wonders around us. I refute this utterly as it is surely the camera that acts as a conduit to draw us into the very heart of the human response to the world around us and offers us a wonderful device with which to become closer to things.

I agree. I was walking home one winter’s evening and heard a blackbird singing in a junk yard. I had my carry-everywhere camera with me and saw a wonderful photo opportunity: would a non-photographer have seen more than a blackbird on a grey winter’s evening?  I doubt it very much. Would a non-photographer have pleasant memories of that walk on a grey winter’s evening? I doubt it very much.

This is one of the photos that I took that evening:
http://mandenomoments.zenfolio.com/p891754224/e6da84bc

8:59 pm - Tuesday, April 14, 2009

#11 cfw

I don’t get it.  The article seems like just another guy musing about the beauty of Spring.  I agree with the ealier comment about this being a very misleading title.

9:23 pm - Tuesday, April 14, 2009

#12 peter k.

Well, Mr.Mandeno Moments, the photo is excelent - I mean composition and artistic view. The question is “can you make a fine art printing from that photo?”. Does your camera shoot raw? Does it have enough resolution? Doeas it have a low noise level?...The point is (in my opinion) that you have to have the both: a good camera and the artistic vision. As a proffesional you’ve got to have your vision in a shape that will allow you to sell it properly.

9:25 pm - Tuesday, April 14, 2009

#13 Christopher Harland

What a shame that this article should draw such negative comments. First rate, inspirational writing from one of Britain’s leading landscape photographers.

9:10 am - Wednesday, April 15, 2009

#14 Mark Goldstein

Charlie’s article gives a unique insight into how a master landscape photographer approaches Spring. While it doesn’t go into detail about what particular camera settings to use, it does provide some great pointers on how, when and where to take Spring photos.

12:01 pm - Wednesday, April 15, 2009

#15 Philip Harle

I guess those who have posted negative comments are more used to dry technical papers and pixel-peeping noise at 100% magnification.  Charlie’s beautifully written article doesn’t tell you which buttons to press on the camera - try the camera manual for that.  The first comment is the most ludicrous - apart from what to photograph and when/where to do it, what else are you looking to be taught about landscape photography (assuming, of course, that you know how to use a camera)?

1:15 pm - Wednesday, April 15, 2009

#16 mahuya

This is a great post where visitor may find some important tips on photography.Hey did you know ? You can now make money and be on real TV by uploading own photos in http://www.uploaded.tv You may check it.

1:12 pm - Monday, April 20, 2009

#17 Web Design Quote

I like this one. Other photos are also good. Thanks for the sharing your thoughts regarding this photos.

8:24 am - Tuesday, June 16, 2009

#18 Landscape Photography

The second image is beautiful, nice abstract.

10:39 am - Sunday, July 12, 2009