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Things to photograph in February

Things to photograph in February - Wildlife expert, Jason Smalley, suggests a few things to shoot in February and gives us tips on getting better shots.

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Animals / Wildlife

February is an impossible month. Nothing's going on, there's nothing to shoot and nothing to do but sit it out and wait for March… or so I thought. If any month is going to conjure up the doldrums for me it is February. It took a good friend of mine to remind me what makes February so Februaryish. Quoting the venerable Leonardo da Vinci she reminded me that 'Water is the driver of Nature', and I saw the point of month two. Water everywhere, in my office, flooding the car boot, turning the M6 into a river. These wet rainy days are the precursor of spring, swelling the roots, fattening the grubs and ensuring that only the fittest survive! What to shoot? Let's begin…

Snowdrops are clothing gardens and glades with their translucent glow. Things to photograph in February
Get down close, eye to eye. See what makes them special, focus on the tiny green patterns that tip the petals, go wide and fill the frame with their all consuming expansiveness. Many gardens open specially to showcase their blooms, take advantage of them and remember to use a tripod if possible.
White water abounds. Everywhere. Capture the force of waterfalls and swollen rivers, furious becks hurtling down gorges, flotsam lodging in riverside branches, trees and hedges marooned in ephemeral lakes. Freeze the flow or let it go with slow shutter speeds. Venture out on dull days when the leaden skies add a sombre note to melancholy water. Watch your step, keep your gear dry and look for patterns. Things to photograph in February
If it's still raining, and you don't feel like getting wet yet again, raid your local florists and set up a table top studio. Use a variety of coloured cards as backdrops and see what you can achieve, the practice will stand you in good stead for location close up work in the more hectic spring months. Practice with a wide aperture, find out which part of a flower should be in focus, usually the sepals but break the rules occasionally. Things to photograph in February

Things to photograph in February

Time lapse your local tree. Stake out a spot that you can visit throughout the season to capture a visual diary of a year in the life of your oak or beech. Now is the time to begin, just before the sap begins to rise and buds burst. Take a series of shots under the same sky if possible and print out a reference print to help you match the composition each month. Don't forget to capture close up intimate moments in your chosen subjects year. Such personal collections look amazing in a frame with several apertures.

Notice how the countryside undergoes a subtle colour change now. Grass definitely looks a tad sprightlier, trees change colour as their buds fill. My personal favourites are Alder and Birch woods which take on a plummy, purple hue, full of promise. The reflected sky can easily spoil these delicate tones so use a polarizer and shoot on an overcast day for best effect. Things to photograph in February

About the author
Jason Smalley has worked as a professional photographer for the past fifteen years, specialising in nature, countryside and the garden. Over the past two years he has embraced digital technology, currently working with a Canon 1Ds. Clients include all the major countryside mags and book publishers. His website at www.jasonsmalley.com showcases his work and outlines events and workshops planned for 2010.





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There is also the Chineese New year in February.

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