I will show you how to find wildflowers and photograph them without harming the environment. These suggestions work anywhere; the pics I will be sharing were taken, literally, in my own back yard.
Step 1: Choose a Camera
- Ease of Use...it's nice to have something uncomplicated so you aren't required to lug equipment around on your hike
- Macro Settings...you'll want to use these most of the time. Practice with them, if possible, before making your purchase and definitely before making any long, once-in-a-lifetime trips
- Rechargeable Battery...you're reducing waste, and personal experience tells me these keep their charge longer. The square type is best; rechargeable AAs and AAAs don't seem to be any better for holding a charge over time than disposable counterparts
Step 2: Don't Miss the Obvious
Take a moment to consider letting nature have its way with your yard, and you may not need to plant flowers at all to enjoy a colorful landscape. Native flora has the benefit of being disease- and pest-resistant, as well as requiring less water and little to no fertilizer. Go green by letting Mother Nature do her own gardening!
Step 3: Choose Your Path and Tread Lightly
- Decide where to go and plan your path.
- Avoid areas that are eroded; these places are fragile, and even light footsteps damage them further
- If you literally watch your step, you can easily walk several miles without destroying any plant life.
- Watch out for the little guys--spiders included!
- Protect your body and clothing by avoiding sharp things...gently move thorny vines from your path without destroying them or yourself.
Step 4: Take Pics!
- Be observant; flowers can grow anywhere
- Get low and close to the object you wish to photograph
- Take your time to get a good angle and focus properly; use the macro setting for best results
- Consider shadows, including your own, and bright sunlight
- Keep a steady hand
Step 5: Don't Neglect Buds and Dried Flowers
Step 6: See the Beauty All Around
Step 7: Take Only Pictures; Leave Only Footprints
Littering is obviously a very very bad thing to do, but so is overlooking trash that is already there. Be kind to the earth and pick up others' messes! Even if a place is relatively untrod by man, there is unfortunately sure to be items occasionally introduced by wind or rain runoff. It is helpful to bring a bag specifically for this purpose. It's a pain, but Mother Earth will thank you.
Step 8: Research
The easiest way to identify what you've found is to use a book (with pictures!) or website created for that purpose. I simply googled "Missouri wildflowers" (I'm in Missouri), and the first result was an excellent site. Compare pics in the book or on the site to yours; they're usually organized by color.
Here's what I found, all less than 500 yards from my house:
- Sheep Sorrel (Oxalis stricta)
- Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus carota)
- Common Blue Violet (Viola papilionacea)
- Violet Wood Sorrel (Oxalis violacea)
- Hairy Buttercup (Ranunculus hispidus)
- Rue Anemone (Anemonella thalictroides)
- Daisy Fleabane (Erigeron strigosus)
- Blackberry (Rubus occidentalis)
- Common Cinquefoil (Potentilla simplex)