I don’t think we’ve ever done a documentary themed assignment before. So I got excited when Nature Friend Magazine had the idea to publish photo essays of The Month of March in your corner of the world! A demonstration video had to be filmed before March began, so I chose 7 days near the end of February to explore my neck of the woods and document what it had to offer!
Day 1 – Ice Crystals
Since there was no frost on the ground, I honestly had no idea what I would try to photograph when I ventured outside to take pictures that first day. And that’s when I ran across those incredible ice formations under the picnic table! They were, like, right there! And I never would have even seen them if I hadn’t been out looking for something to photograph.
Being so small, they weren’t easy to capture! It was hard to know if they were properly in focus.
I think focusing on the tip would have made them feel more in focus. That’s what I did with the intriguing formations below, and I think it looks better.
It was really fun to edit these photos too. While the above photo looks very natural, I discovered if I completely desaturated the greens, then it brought more attention to the ice crystals, and it has a more fantastic feeling!
Day 2 – Crocus Flowers
It’s amazing how dramatically the temperature fluctuates at this time of year! Photographing ice crystals one day, and then photographing flowers the next! But such is March.
The sun goes behind the hill very early in the day during the winter months out at the farm, so I was a bit disappointed to find the crocuses already in shade when I arrived. And in that spot, before complete shade arrives, the sunlight is filtered through the forest which provides soft, warm light over everything. But we had arrived too late for that, so I just had to make due with what I had, focusing on composition, choosing a portion of flower that was eye-catching, and trying to keep my backgrounds free of clutter.
For the yellow crocuses, now closed up for the day, I thought putting the dark side of a reflector in the background would help eliminate busyness.
Day 3 – Belted Kingfisher
Julianna and I had fun looking for the Belted Kingfisher, though we never did see one that day. It was a huge surprise to see one a week or two prior, clear as day, sitting on a little stump in that vicinity on the way to church. They don’t normally stick around all winter, as far as I can remember. So I guess we will have to return on a different day. Maybe at a better time of day too?
Day 4 – Worm
You already know about this little backyard excursion from the last blog post, The Guy in Orange. Since March is such a rainy month, and since we associate worms with robins that return in early spring, I figured I could get by with a subject that was a little less quintessential.
Day 5 – Wind
I really had a tough time trying to capture a photo that showcased “wind”. At first I thought it would be easy! The concept in theory is very easy. But to actually capture an image that showcases the concept, especially in a place like my backyard that offered limited subjects, it was really tough.
This one almost works, but the main tree I was focused on I think was moving too! So it’s not tack sharp, and that bothers me.
It was a really good challenge for me. I’m learning new things all the time.
Day 6 – Bare Trees
On Day 2, after photographing the crocuses, I noticed something on the way to evening church. The evening light shone uniquely on some bare trees beside the road. I thought it would be a good place to return to if I wanted to try and capture “bare trees” in an artistic way.
Well, that’s what I decided to photograph on Day 5. It had been partly sunny all day, and I crossed my fingers as we drove out to the spot. Sure enough, it was too cloudy out in the West for there to be any unique sunlight playing on the bare trees beside the road. So I worked with what I had.
Though not as dramatic as I would like, it’s still a great photo that showcases “bare trees”!
I don’t know if I like any of the other photos I took, but here they are anyway.
At least I did get a nice photo of the sun peeking through the clouds on the way to the spot I hoped was going to work!
Day 7 – Mud
If there’s anything that’s prevalent in March in West Virginia, it’s mud! How could I let this assignment pass without photographing that?! Plus, I had never tried showcasing “mud” before. Never thought it showcase-worthy before! Imagine that. A beautiful picture of mud? And that’s what made this assignment so fun! I photographed so many things I never even thought to photograph before!
Now It’s Your Turn!
What is March like in your corner of the world? Use your artistic eye to document what it’s like with your camera, write up a short (or long!) story about your experiences photographing it, and then submit your photo essay for a chance to be published in the March 2024 issue of Nature Friend Magazine! Be sure to check out the details for The Month of March assignment to see how you can win both Lenspiration and Nature Friend’s prizes. Can’t wait to see your photos!