Thursday, June 9, 2016

Review of Tips for Photographing on a Hike

leaves growing over stone wall photo by mbgphoto
There is nothing like a hike in the woods to find great material for nature photography.  During the past month I have gone on several outings with photographer friends to capture the beautiful images of springtime in Missouri.  These images were taken on two of our outings at state parks in the St. Louis metro area.  The photo above was taken at Cuivre River State Park in Troy,  Missouri.  The second park we visited was Lone Elk Park just off Hwy 44 in the southwest portion of the region.

Preparing for Your Trip

Good preparation is important for your trip.  On both of the occasions there was a chance of rain so some rain gear was added to my checklist.
  • Camera and back pack
  • Extra batteries and memory cards for the camera
  • Lens cloth to wipe away dust and dirt
  • Two lenses- one wide angle(18-70) and a longer lens (70-300)
  • large trash bag (to sit on if the area is muddy)
  • rain poncho (just in case)
  • lens hood
  • filter
  • tripod
Although I make sure all of these things are in my backpack, when I get to the place where we are going to shoot I leave most of the items in my car.  I do this because we were going on trails of 1 mile or less and if I need something else I can go back to the car.  For my first trip from the car to shoot I will put on one of my lenses and make sure to wipe it off.  I then check my battery and memory card and head out to shoot.  Later depending on what I'm wanting to photograph, I will come back and change lenses and/or pick up my tripod.  I used to always carry my backpack and tripod with me, but I have found that to be too cumbersome and not needed for short hikes.

 Photographing Wildlife

I have not done a lot of wildlife photography but on my trip to Lone Elk Park I had two photography buddies who really helped  me to hone in on wildlife to photograph.  Dina was great at listening for birds and pointed out the Pileated Woodpecker  that I was able to capture with my long lens in the photo below. In the photo below that you will see an Elk.  Our photo buddy Mac drove ahead of us through the park and would point out places where we could find Elk and Bison. I found that photographing wildlife takes a lot more patience than photographing flowers.

Pileated Woodpecker photo by mbgphoto

elk in the woods photo by mbgphoto

Photographing Plants and Flowers

I enjoy photographing flowers and foliage.

pink flowering tree among green trees in the woods photo by mbgphotoThere is always something interesting to shoot in the parks. The first shot  is some pink dogwood I spotted through the trees.  This photo was taken in Lone Elk Park and the shot was taken out of the window of the car.  I had my lens set on aperture priority f8 and was able to capture the pink as I saw it through the trees.
leaves cascading over a stone wall photo by mbgphoto

We were hiking down a small path in Cuivre River State park when I saw part of an old stone wall. I stopped on the path and took several shots of the wall from different directions. It is amazing the different looks you get just by walking around an area and looking at it from a different angle.

I love the way the leaves were growing over this stone wall.  The sunlight filtering through the trees also gave it an interesting look.

Waterdrops and Puddles Create Interesting Photos

trees reflected in a pool of water photo by mbgphotoWe were at Cuivre River right after a rainfall and there were puddles everywhere and raindrops still falling from the branches and leaves.  Sometimes new photographers avoid rainy days, but I find that you can capture some of your best images on a rainy day.  The first photo was looking down at the top of an old stone pillar.  The pillar was about 3 feet high and a oval pool of water had collected in the top of the pillar.  I stood over the pillar and focused my camera down on the puddle of water that showed a reflection of the trees above.              

This next photo depicts a waterdrop on a branch.  I was having trouble getting a good shot when a fellow photographer suggested I back up a bit and refocused.  It took a few tries but I was finally able to get a fairly clear shot of the waterdrop with the background blurred.  

raindrop on a tree branch photo by mbgphoto

Watch for Special Features to Photograph

As you are out in a park look for special features to add to your photographs.  Old stone bridges like the one below make an interesting photograph.  Don't forget to turn around and look at the path you've just walked down.  The leading lines will also make for an interesting photo.

old stone bridge photo by mbgphoto

path through the woods photo by mbgphoto

I couldn't resist photographing this goose that sat out right in the middle of the parking lot.  He didn't move all the while I was shooting.

goose photo by mbgphoto

Gifts from  my Photographs

Here are some items I made on Zazzle from my photographs.  You can see other items on my Zazzle shop by clicking through either of the links below.
Old Bridge at Cuivre River Card
Old Bridge at Cuivre River Card by mbgphoto
Look at other Old stone bridge Cards at
Leaves on Old Stone Wall Gift Box
Leaves on Old Stone Wall Gift Box by mbgphoto
Check out Cuivre river state park Gift Boxes online at zazzle

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. As always, your photographs are fantastic and your photography advice so helpful, Mary Beth. Always enjoy (and learn from) your 'photo shoots' articles!

  2. Honestly this is something I haven't done much of (Hike in the woods) but after reading this, I'm sorta wanting to do it (knees please hold up, lol) - My kids will do this though (a couple of them) - relaxing, fun, especially with a camera - great photos here

  3. Hiking in the woods and taking pictures is truly my favorite way to discover things to photograph. I have noticed that I actually pay more attention to my surroundings to appreciate the beauty that is all around me. So much of it I would simply pass without ever noting if I was simply out for a walk.

    Your photos are always beautiful Mary Beth and I especially love the scenery reflected in the water drop in this set of shots.

  4. Mary Beth the photos look great. I especially like the branch with the raindrop - fabulous!

  5. Love your photos. I'm partial to puddle or any other reflections. I'm not willing to take a backpack on my photo walks. If it won't fit in a waist pack, it stays at home or in the car. Of course, I only use a point and shoot that fits in my pocket.

  6. I love all your photos but that one of the reflections in the water on top of the pole is just wow!

  7. Beautiful shots and tips, as usual. What I love about hiking is the variety in shades of greens, from moss to fresh, young leaves, as well as the interesting textures which you show so well in your pictures. Thanks for sharing!


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