If you can’t travel far to photograph wilderness, consider the woods and water not far from home. A little planning can reward you with rich opportunities for outdoor photography and for photo art.
The trick is to keep lookout as you travel about your city. Note the small patches of trees and streams showcased by trees. Then remember to look up. The treetops above can make a unique image of patterns or colorful shapes.
Many urban and suburban areas have greenbelts with bikeways and walking paths. But don’t overlook areas in or between nearby neighborhoods. These are rich areas for outdoor photography. The image above was shot into a quarter-acre of oaks and pines preserved as a barrier between two neighborhoods. To set up a similar shot, find an angle that avoids rooftops, lamp posts and other signs of civilization.
On the Margins
Search the margins of a city where urbanization borders with old farmland, parks, or municipal boundaries. These margins are often marked by tree lines that separate properties. Also notice any natural barriers that mark historical features serving as reference points along the border between property or cities.
Up, Up and Beyond
Treetops serve as willing subjects for outdoor photography. Point your camera upward. Because you’re elevating your view angle above streets and houses, your shots emphasize nature, not its urban surroundings. In the treetops explore mixes of complex branches and vibrant canopies of leaves with dramatic or delicate clouds.
Urban streams usually flow along natural or manmade channels. But they’re also magnets that pick up the deep blue of sky and the pattern of trees above. You might have to work hard to capture beauty in a narrow stream. Start your search in Google Maps. Use the satellite view and look for streams surrounded by trees and vegetation. Plan where to access the streams without tramping through fenced or marked private property.
Don’t shy away from the concrete channels that control urban drainage. Consider framing your shot to avoid the concrete but catch a dramatic sky in the wide, shallow water.
What are your favorite urban places to photograph the wilderness?