Mindful Nature Photography for Mental Health
I recently had the pleasure of writing an article for The Great British Garden Show, which has been inspiring people with nature during lockdown 2020. There you’ll see lots of gardens from all over the country where people are using gardens and nature for their well-being.
See the article on their website here about how and why to do mindful nature photography. Or read it below.
Mindful Nature Photography in Somerset & Devon
My profession as a photographer seems to have been a natural development in my life which, when I think about it, was always inevitable. I love using it as a vehicle to see the world from another perspective. When you gain a new perspective, you are liberated from your repetitive and perhaps tedious ways of thinking. Like travel, the camera allows you to escape to a new world. Ironically, it’s a form of escape that brings us closer to the real world – the one we’ve forgotten because we’ve been so busy, the one full of magic and mystery.
It makes you look around more, look closely at things, seek out bugs and wildflowers that you normally would have just walked past.
Go and visit a place of nature, it doesn’t have to be an arboretum! Nature is closer to you than you think. Bring a camera, your phone is fine too! What makes nature photography so empowering is that when you have a camera in your hand in a place of nature, you then have set an intention to purposely seek out something that you will find beautiful. It makes you look around more, look closely at things, seek out bugs and wildflowers that you normally would have just walked past.
To practise mindful nature photography is to notice what is there. The patterns in the leaves, the light and shade, how it’s changed between seasons or even between days. You might notice how a branch with leaves is growing out of a tree stump, how fungi and moss grow amongst the forest floor, pick almost anything and there will be something interesting about it. How does the light hit it; from the back or from the front. How do the flowers catch your attention; could there be one taller, one bolder, or with an insect on it. How do these things look against the background that they’re a part of; is it darker than the plant, how does it contrast? How would it look if the subject was in a different part of the frame? Which angles would make this look more interesting.
Essentially, it’s not actually the photos that are the foundation of mindful nature photography, it’s the process of doing it. The process itself makes you see things in a different way, it’s making you seek out more in your environment, it’s making you pause from your usual busy mind. You get to be present with the moment, rather than being lost in thought about the past or the future. Neither of those even really exist, it’s only this very moment, and this one, and now this one, that make up reality. If you notice yourself caught up with ruminating thoughts, then just notice that. Noticing is the first step to being more present with the world. Do nothing with it, accept it, witness it, and come back to what you’re doing right now, what you’re seeing. This is your life right now, your world, so don’t miss it.
Take 2 mins out to see some footage from an enchanting woodland, taken with a macro lens:
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