Microadventure Series : Photo Safari

One of the great things about hiking is that you get to see places that not everyone visits. This leads to the opportunity to hone your observation skills. Whether your passion is an epic sunrise, birding, foraging or finding that hidden waterfall, there is something for everyone. In the last month, I’ve found that my observation skills seem to be heightened. As I’ve slowed down and am paying closer attention, I’ve been more apt to pull out my camera and capture details.

This got me thinking about my microadventure hikes as a way to challenge myself to a photo safari. Living in the city, it’s been noticing spring revealing plants and neighborhoods waking up from winter. The slow, steady progression from brown to vibrant green. The flowers that are beginning to pop up. I set out to capture them. Watching these tiny emerging plants and flowers requires a keen eye at times. It’s almost always worth the patience.

I’ve tried to keep to my trails whether paved or dirt too. Stepping off trail at this time of the year is tempting to get a closer look. But doing so take the chance that you might actually crush the next-to-emerge plant so if you can resist the urge I recommend it. I heard a suggestion recently that bringing along binoculars is a good idea. I’d always thought about them for wildlife sightings. Now I’ll bring them to see that flower or plant off trail instead.

The fun thing that’s happened is I am now more in tune with other details. More open to being playful in my exploration. It’s lead me to notice the chalk art and games drawn on the sidewalks Hopscotch is fun when combined with a line that begs you to twirl! The Little Free Libraries in my neighborhood are as unique as the homes they sit in front of. There are sweet notes of thank you in windows and words of inspiration abound. I’m more in tune with the textures and patterns on objects.

So how do you pick the subject of a photo safari? A good start is something that you love or is of interest. Anyone who has been along the blog for a while knows that flowers are a consistent inspiration for me. That love came from my parents in both gardening and photography. Recently I’ve challenged myself to start looking for things that change my perspective or surprise me. Below are some ideas if you need inspiration. Some fit the tried-and-true things we look for in the outdoors and others might truly test your observation skills.

  • Flowers – looking for only buds or only full blooms; many parks have lists of the types of flowering that are native to an area as a resource
  • Mushrooms – who knew there were so many varieties?
  • Tree varietals – from spring flowering to summer shade
  • Dog breeds you encounter on your hike
  • Birds – song birds or birds of prey; many parks have lists of the types of birds that are native to an area as a resource
  • Wildlife – many parks have lists of of the types of wildlife that are native to an area as a resource
  • Objects that are all one color
  • Benches – lots of variations can make an interesting photo collection
  • Mailboxes
  • Things that make you laugh out loud, surprise you or stop in your tracks
  • Graffiti
  • Geographic markers
  • Sculptures
  • Tiny things
  • Gigantic things…

The list could go on and on. The key is to find something that sparks your observation skills and go with it. I’m looking for more ideas for photo safaris so if you’ve got them, drop me a comment. Who knows? Your list could show up in a future post! In the meantime hoping you find a microadventure of your own to enjoy.

Next Post Preview: Join me for the tiniest hike I’ve done. It’s a mile long adventure I’m not certain I want to repeat for a while, but taught me a lot about impact on trails and sticking to an adventure even when the end seems out of sight.

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Photo of a group of hikers on a sunny day in a field heading towards a wooded area. The photographer has taken the photo from behind the group.

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