Nature Photography In The Least Expected Places

Photo by Vic Berardi

Photo by Vic Berardi

It’s the dead of winter, you live in an area that doesn’t have classic winter scenery, then you look outside and see that it’s cold and dreary. The last snowfall was at least a week ago, so taking photos with beautiful fresh snow in the background or foreground isn’t an option. So, you decide to stay home and wait for a better day…you shouldn’t. There are opportunities out there on any given day to take nature photos, if you just look hard enough.

A couple of weeks ago I ventured out on such a day and after becoming exhausted at trying to find something to photograph, I happened to drive over a small creek and stopped to look and see if any water was moving. There wasn’t but something else caught my eye: autumn leaves & ice! I pulled over to the side of the road, got out with my camera and tripod and slowly looked at all the small scenery along this very small and mostly frozen creek. What I saw was limitless in compositions and beauty!

This photo was taken with a Canon 60D, Canon 70-200mm (@ 125mm) on a tripod with settings of ISO 200, f11 @ 1/60 second:

Ice & Leaves / Photo by Vic Berardi

Ice & Leaves / Photo by Vic Berardi

If you want to get even more creative, the possibilities become even greater such as in this next photo that I shot with three separate exposures and processed in the Photomatix Pro 4.2 HDR software. I used the same equipment and settings as above but this time the focal length was at 160mm.

Ice & Leaves / Photo by Vic Berardi

Ice & Leaves / Photo by Vic Berardi

But this type of photography doesn’t require you to use a DSLR and tripod. Beautiful handheld shots with a good point & shoot are easily accomplished. This last photo was taken with my Canon G12 handheld at ISO 200, f5.6 @ 1/30 second:

Ice Faces / Photo by Vic Berardi

Ice Faces / Photo by Vic Berardi

If you look closely at this photo you might just see some interesting shapes!

So, when the weather is bleak and you don’t think there’s any photo opportunities out there, give this a try. You don’t need a lot of time either. Spend an hour doing this at a nearby creek or even a drainage ditch for that matter and then go home, brew up a cup of hot coffee and spend the rest of the day post processing your images!!

Get more great tips in our free weekly newsletter.

vicbAbout the Author: Vic Berardi is a raptor lover that lives in the Midwest. He is the founder of the Illinois Beach State Park Hawk Watch and every weekend of the year you’ll find him searching for hawks and photographing them. Several of his photographs have been published in a leading raptor journal and in articles he has written. During the year he gives presentations teaching others about hawks and hawk migration. Vic also photographs dragonflies and wild flowers and is always respectful of nature and its creatures.


  1. Amy Giomi-Bingenheimer says:

    You are always inspiring us to get out there no matter what the conditions & prove there is always something to capture on film. Thanks!

  2. So very true ~ it’s a matter of looking, but maybe in the less obvious places. Absolutely LOVE your frozen leaf. Certainly would never know it came from a ‘boring drainage ditch’. Cheers!

  3. Robert Visconti says:

    Great idea for an otherwise horrible day in search of raptors and critters. These subjects will cooperate much better too :-)….

    Great images Vic! Love the HDR work.

  4. Steve Rubelmann says:

    I just read your contribution to DPS and bookmarked your website as one of the most interesting and useful writers to DPS. I am glad I did, since your interests seem to parallel mine. I looked with much interest at your first paragraph and photo of the stream in winter. As it turns out, I took an almost identical picture a couple of days earlier for the same reason. I showed your photo to my wife and then my photo and she asked how you got the same picture of the stream in our State Park. It took awhile to explain that it was not the same place, just very similar. Wish I could post it. I certainly will be enjoying future posts from you. Thanks.

  5. Vic Berardi says:

    Thank you all for the very kind comments, much appreciated!

  6. I love the top photo of the leaf in ice. very “cool”.

Speak Your Mind


Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.