Finally, it’s the weekend! You wake up, the sun is shining, but you just don’t feel like hanging out in your backyard wildlife studio. That’s okay. Go beyond your backyard. Grab the family, pack a lunch, gather your camera gear, and head off to a city park. Parks are a fantastic place to practice photographing nature and wildlife. Where else can you go where the critters are used to people and you have the opportunity to take beautiful landscapes?
My favorite city parks have ponds. Even in the larger cities, where there is a pond, you will find life. This is a great opportunity to view and photograph ducks and other waterfowl like herons and egrets. Don’t forget the frogs, dragonflies and other aquatic insects and amphibians that will pose for their portrait. Have the kiddos feed the ducks while you work on your close-ups. Keep your eyes open though, you never know when you’ll get the chance to work on capturing a “bird in flight” image. Birds in flight are always challenging, but when you finally get the whole bird in frame, it’s like winning the lottery.
If you’re really lucky, your city park has a pond and nature trails. Trails always offer the hope of capturing images of squirrels, rabbits and a variety of birds. Not only are they good practice grounds for photographers but they provide us with the perfect opportunity to teach our children about nature. Teach your kids the different bird calls, or learn about them together. Study animal tracks and see if they can guess the animal. Conservation begins with education. Teaching our kids to respect and appreciate nature starts with us, so don’t miss out on the opportunity.
PS. My image “Quaker Parrot #3” was taken at a city park at White Rock Lake here in Dallas, Texas. It was published in the July 2017 issue of Texas Parks & Wildlife.