How to photograph the essence of spring – quick-fire challenges to try this season

Nikon Team Photo Finish30 mag 2024Lettura di 4 minuti
Alexandra Evang's images for Nikon magazine Photo finish Spring

Nikon Creators Alexandra Evang, Lara Jackson, George Benjamin and Linus Bergman share their photography challenges for capturing the essence of spring in the latest issue of Photo Finish

Spring, like any other season, is a wonderful opportunity to take photos. Nature comes to life, flowers bloom, the days become longer and, with luck, the sun shines. “This time of year always seems to spark numerous creative ideas for me,” says travel and adventure photographer Linus Bergman.


Are you ready to test your kit and creativity? Read on for our photography challenges from our Nikon Creators, made for you.  

Nikon Team
What’s in our kitbag?

©Alexandra Evang

Challenge one: Capture animal emotion 

“Be mindful of your subjects, especially those who can’t communicate with you,” advises horse and portrait photographer Alexandra Evang. “When photographing horses and all other animals, it is important to be patient and empathetic when capturing natural and authentic moments.” 


Try to capture the animal’s unique personality in your photos. Observe its movements, facial expressions and gestures to be able to catch animation or funny situations, as when a horse gallops across the meadow or curiously sniffs a flower. For emotional moments, showcase the bond between humans and horses in your photos, capturing shared activities. Or, when going solo, look for the quiet moments, with close-ups of small details such as the horse’s eyes, mane or hooves. 


Alexandra’s top tip: “It is essential to choose the right time to photograph. Early morning or late afternoon are ideal, as the light is softer and warmer. I like to use a suitable app to track the sun’s movement precisely.” 

George Benjamin's images for Nikon magazine Photo Finish Spring
Z 9 + NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S: 1/2000 sec, f/2.8, ISO 125, ©George Benjamin
Challenge two: Flower power 

“Look to incorporate the vibrancy of spring flowers into your images,” say wildlife photographers (and married couple) Lara Jackson and George Benjamin. “Be imaginative and use the flowers to create a gorgeous bokeh effect that frames your subject. This will result in a dreamy and ethereal quality to your photographs, elevating the visual impact of your spring-themed shots.”


Don’t forget about the background. Choose a location with a variety of blooming flowers and lush grass as a backdrop for your shots. A colourful flower garden, an alley of cherry trees or an idyllic forest path are all perfect settings for your photos. Depending on the location, make sure to obtain permission in advance.


Lara and George’s top tip: “Experiment with depth of field. Use a fast aperture (such as f/2.8 or f/1.8) to emphasise your subject against a soft, blurred background and vibrant bokeh foreground. This will enhance the sense of depth and crystal-sharp focus on your subject.” 

Linus Bergman's images for Nikon magazine Photo finish Spring
Nikon Z f + NIKKOR Z 40mm f/2: 1/500 sec, f/6.3, ISO 400, ©Linus Bergman
Challenge three: Experiment with limitations 

After working in the industry for many years, Nikon Creator Linus Bergman has found his preferred set up by experimenting with a more minimalistic approach: just one camera (the Nikon Z f) and one lens (the NIKKOR Z 40mm f/2). Nothing more, nothing less. So this spring, experiment with limitations. This could mean restricting your gear, or perhaps confining your photography to a certain radius around where you live for a month. Alternatively, you could limit yourself to a project centred on a specific colour. “By imposing limitations, you force yourself to think more creatively within those boundaries,” Linus explains. “In my experience, this approach undoubtedly fosters growth.”  

Linus Bergman's images for Nikon magazine Photo finish Spring
Image left/below: Nikon Z f + NIKKOR Z 40mm f/2: 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 400 ©Linus Bergman. Image right/above: Nikon Z f + NIKKOR Z 40mm f/2: 1/250 sec, f/10, ISO 125, ©Linus Bergman
Challenge four: Imperfection is the new perfection 

Over the last year, Linus has noticed the Dutch angle making a resurgence in popularity. Iconic in film photography, Dutch angle is when the camera has noticeable tilt on the x-axis. “It’s more of a point-and-shoot style approach and I see it as a rebellion against perfection,” says the Creator. “People are seeking uniqueness and their own voice amid the sea of similar images on social media.” Try a different approach, tilt your camera, capture motion blur or try a new angle. “Traditional photography rules aren’t strict principles,” adds Linus. “They’re more like guidelines, so you don’t always have to abide them.” Alexandra Evang agrees, reminding us to learn the rules so that you can deliberately break them afterwards.

George Benjamin's images for Nikon magazine Photo Finish Spring
Z 9 + NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S: 1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200, ©George Benjamin
Challenge five: Whatever the weather 

This spring you might find Lara and George lying behind bunches of sea thrift and bluebells as they photograph the thousands of puffins and seabirds that return to the west coast of Scotland for their breeding season. Or you might spot them covered in kelp as they photograph female otters emerging from their holts, teaching their new kits how to swim and hunt. 


Whatever the weather throws at you, Lara and George challenge you to take advantage of all conditions. “Whether it’s soft diffused light during golden hours or a misty day. Shooting in all types of weather will generate entirely different photographs,” the Nikon Creators explain. “For example, if it’s a misty, dreich day, you can experiment with high key photography, focusing on the water droplets beading on the seabirds’ feathers.” 


Lara and George’s top tip: “Get down low or climb up high, change those angles and viewpoints to create more dynamic and interesting images with unique perspectives.” 


And that’s the spring issue of Photo Finish, stay tuned for the next one!

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