Good morning friends,
I have very exciting news. Well for me it is anyway. I decided to start exploring and photographing the nature reserves and parks within a 100km radius of my home. This project will keep me busy for a few years I think.
I got this idea while watching all the YouTube videos of the different photographers I follow. While watching their videos, I got jealous because they have such beautiful landscapes, seascapes and woodlands to photograph. They go out early mornings while it is still dark, hike to the desired location and take the most beautiful photos at sunrise.
Here in South Africa we also have very beautiful locations and hidden gems. Most of our nature reserves only opens from 7:00am and close at 7:00pm. As a result I won’t be able to do a sunrise or sunset shoot in these reserves. The reserves that is open 24 hours a day are not always very safe. I will not be able to go hike and take photos on my own before sunrise or after sunset. Even during the day it is not safe.
But I am not going to let this unfortunate situation stop me from exploring. I have Willow, and I will take her with me to the reserves and parks that do allow dogs when I do my recce visits. At first I am only going to explore the free and safe ones within a radius of 10km from home. I won’t be taking Willow with me every time I go out to take photos though. She is still not fully trained and I won’t be able to concentrate on my compositions and photography if I have to keep an close eye on her the whole time.
I will leave the bigger and unsafe parks and reserves for the weekends when Morné or one of the boys can accompany me.
I am currently using Google maps, the All trails App and different hiking sites to help me compile my Recce list of Nature reserves and parks. According to All Trails there are 198 curated hiking trails to choose from. They are categorized from easy to hard. I will first start with the easy ones and work my way up to the hard ones as my fitness improves.
I am well aware that there are also a lot of small nature reserves and parks that are not on Google Maps or the different sites. As I am driving around I will keep an eye out for these gems and add them to my recce list.
My Recce list so far only includes Nature Reserves less than 10km radius from home.
- Botterblom Nature Reserve (8 km) Free
- Uitkamp Wetland Nature Reserve (8.9 km) Free
- Bracken Nature Reserve (5.9 km) Free
- Durbanville Nature Reserve (7.8 km) Free
This morning Willow and I went to the first one on my list.
Botterblom Nature Reserve
It is only 8 km from my home. It is not a very big reserve and the route Willow and I walked was only 0.88km.
Even though it is not a big reserve, it is packed with photo opportunities. If I go down low and take the photos at the right angles, you will never even know that it is in the middle of a populated area. I took some photos on my cellphone this morning on our recce visit. I spotted a lot of birdlife, wildflowers and landscapes to photograph. Over the next year I will visit the reserve once a month to capture the changes.
I am very excited, and can’t wait to get started. I want to photograph this location at sunrise and sunset. I will keep a close eye on the weather forecast for next week. I need a cloudy day for some of the photos I have in mind. For the flower and plant life photography I need enough light for the flowers to open and no wind if that is at all possible. My aim is to go before sunrise if I am lucky there won’t be any wind and I can take some awesome reflection photos.
Here are just a few of my favorite photographers on YouTube.
- Thomas Heaton
- Gavin Hardcastle
- Adam Gibbs
- Henry Turner
- Mike and Chris Perea
- Simon Baxter
- Nick Carver
- Brendan van Son
- Nick Page
- James Popsys
- Peter McKinnon
- Christian Irmler
- Photography Online
What I learned over the past few weeks watching all these photography videos is that if you don’t go out and look for that perfect photo you will never find it. The only way that you are going to get to know an area is to go out and visit it often. Don’t take all your photos at eye level. If you don’t get a photo it is not the end of the world, enjoy the time outside in nature and take in your surroundings. With the right light conditions a boring photo can be transformed into a fantastic photo.
What is my plan of action for this Parks and Nature Reserve Photography Project?
- As soon as I identified a Park or Nature Reserve, I will take Willow, if they allow dogs, and we will recce the location.
- I will take photos of interesting areas with my cellphone.
- If I am happy with the location and see potential photos I will add it to my Parks and Nature Reserve Photography Project list.
- If possible I would like to visit the locations on my Parks and Nature Reserve Photography Project list at least once every 3 months.
- Those less than 20km away from home I would like to visit at least once a month.
- I will be focusing on documenting the Fauna and Flora in the park or Nature Reserve.
- Do some Landscape photography as well as some Abstract Landscape photography.
- Edit and share photos and experience.
Well that is it for now friends.
Thank you for your ongoing support and looking forward to share the progress my Parks and Nature Reserve Photography Project with you.
Till next time. Stay safe.