Hedgerows divide land right across Britain, including many back gardens, and they're home to a wide variety of wildlife making them a perfect place for outdoor photographers. A hedgerow will give you a huge shot collection of flowers, plants, insects, small mammals and birds from just one location. You just need to know where to look and when.
Photo by David Pritchard
What Gear Should I Take?
If you're on the hunt for insects and flowers take your macro lens along but if you want to photograph the many birds and small mammals that live in the hedgerow you'll need a telephoto or zoom lens so you can observe and take your photographs from a distance that won't scare them off.
A tripod or even a beanbag will give your arms a rest and stop you shaking the camera when you're working on those frame-filling shots. Use a remote release or if you don't have one make use of the self-timer as this will give you enough time to press the shutter and move away so your movement won't blur your shot. As it's dark and shadowy inside a hedgerow take a reflector out with you to add and direct light into the shot.
If you're going to be working on the ground it's worth taking a gardener's kneeling pad with you to keep your knees dry and a little comfier.
Capturing Shots Of Flowers
Whatever time of year you do your hedgerow flower photography, if you use your lens' minimum aperture to give your flower shots greater depth of field, remember this will slow your shutter speed down so watch out for camera shake.
Tips On Bird Photography
If it's birds you're searching for wrens and thrushes are just two of the species you'll find nesting in the dense cover. This can make them hard to spot, but most birds prefer taller, mature hedges where there are plenty of trees around they can perch on so keep an eye out for areas like this. Also, spend enough time around these older, well-developed areas and you may even spot shy blue tits, owls and even bats if you're out late enough. Keep your ears open for bird song too as this will give away even the smallest of birds locations.
If your focus is a particular branch have your lens focused and exposure locked in place so when the bird lands you can quickly snap your shot. You may find continuous shooting's useful and keep an eye on your exposure as a bright sky and a dark subject can confuse the camera into thinking it needs to underexpose the shot.
Make sure you don't disturb any nests and don't trespass! Stick to public paths or better still, your own garden.
Shoot From A Bird's Eye View
If you live near a hill or can get to higher ground try photographing a group of fields. The patchwork of colour, particularly towards the summer with rapeseed, separated by rows of hedges makes a great looking photograph. Try doing a year-long hedgerow safari too as the flora and wildlife will continuously change so there'll be ample to photograph.
Photo by Rick Hanson
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