How To Do a Photo Walk in the Backyard with Creativity

Feather in Barbed Wire

Have you ever heard of a photo walk?  A photo walk is very simple.  Usually a group, consisting of a walk leader (usually an advanced or pro photographer) and those interested in participating in the photo walk.   You choose a location that can be walked in a certain time frame and then you shoot what you come across and interests you photographically in the walk.  An example of the results can be seen at the DPS Las Vegas photo walk which took place during the BlogWorldExpo in September.

They can take place anywhere you want to have a few photographers get together and pound the pavement (or dirt) to get those creative minds moving.  For a photo walk tutorial or more information on how they are generally done, see 10 Tips For A Great Photowalk.  This basically is what I did for 2 years at UAB while I was studing photography.  We would just go out and shoot at a predetermined location and all look at the results the following class.

There are a few differences but it now has a fancy name, and we have things like blogs that can be used for show-and-tell.  Whatever you want to call it, it is always a good learning process and helps open your eyes to what interesting photographic elements are around us all the time.

My Own Photo Walk in the Backyard

With all that said, you can always do a photowalk in your own backyard.  I have done this for many many years and it doesn’t matter if you live in a high rise in NYC or on a farm in Alabama.  There is always something you can call your backyard, even if it is the MARTA station outside your house or office in Atlanta (or MTA station if you are in NYC).

I try to get in a little exercise each day, so I usually walk in my backyard but now that the sun is setting around 4:30pm each day, I have to get out there a little earlier to be able to see where I am going.  Yesterday I decided to take my camera bag with me and do a fast photo walk before the sun went down.  I really only had time for two different shots.

First I came across this swarm of gnats flying through the setting sun.  Have any of your photographer out there tried to get a acceptable shot of a swarm of gnats?  Wasn’t as easy I had initially thought, but the second shot above was the result.  This was shot hand held in manual everything.  At least the wash of sun gave me some good color on the fall leaves in the background.

Next I came across this feather that was stuck in the barbed wire fence that runs along the length of our property.  Probably something I walked by every day and just never noticed.  One of my most favorite types of photography is marco photography (or closeup), so I took out my macro lens and shot the first image above as the sun had set.  The sun was all but gone at this point so depth of field was interesting to preview, but it was an image I walked by every day and never noticed until I did the photo walk.

Moths in the Alabama Fall

By the way, for those writers or painters out there it works the same way.  Just take your canvas or journal and get out of your office or normal environment and see how creative you can be by changing your surroundings.

Any time you think there is nothing to shoot, just try taking a photo walk in your backyard.  You might be surprised by the results.  Anyone else tried this?

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