Top tips for taking amazing nature photos on your phone

Top tips for taking amazing nature photos on your phone

Love pho­tog­ra­phy? Here’s some tips to cap­ture great shots in South Australia’s nation­al parks.

South Australia’s nation­al parks are full of beau­ti­ful land­scapes, colour­ful veg­e­ta­tion and diverse wildlife, and most vis­i­tors want to cap­ture mem­o­ries that will last a lifetime.

So how do you take amaz­ing pho­tos like those you see on Insta­gram or Face­book?

Dhil­ba Guu­ran­da-Innes Nation­al Park Ranger in Charge Mark Davi­son is around beau­ti­ful scenery all day – here’s his tips for cap­tur­ing the per­fect shot.

Tim­ing is everything

I take pho­tos at any time of the day, but ear­ly morn­ing and late afternoon/​evening pro­vide some stun­ning nat­ur­al light. Par­tic­u­lar­ly if there’s cloud for­ma­tions around sun­set. Be aware that some­times nat­ur­al light can be too bright. If you’re tak­ing pho­tos of flow­ers try to get some shade over them as they can look washed out’ in nat­ur­al sun­light. Shad­ing them enhances the full colour of the flower.

From dusk til dawn

I’m for­tu­nate to work at Dhil­ba Guu­ran­da-Innes Nation­al Park where we have a wide vari­ety of wildlife. It can be very oppor­tunis­tic to observe and pho­to­graph the ani­mals here and some­times you come across them when you least expect to. How­ev­er, for kan­ga­roos, wal­la­bies and malleefowl, the hour around dawn and dusk is best.

Loca­tion, loca­tion, location

My favourite loca­tions to pull out the cam­era are Cape Spencer, West Cape, Pon­dalowie Bay and the chain of saline lakes with­in the inte­ri­or of the park. The coastal loca­tions offer some rugged and spec­tac­u­lar scenery includ­ing high cliffs, long uncrowd­ed pris­tine sandy beach­es and amaz­ing sea scapes no mat­ter what the con­di­tions. The saline lakes with­in the park have some amaz­ing nat­u­ral­ly-occur­ring colours and offer a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive of the environment.

Fin­ish­ing touches

My favourite Insta­gram fil­ter is Lo-Fi. It seems to enhance nat­ur­al colours with­out mak­ing the image seem un-nat­ur­al. Just exper­i­ment with what­ev­er fil­ter and colours you like. Some­times it works, oth­er times it doesn’t. I do tend to favour nat­ur­al-look­ing colours.

The best of the best

These are some of my favourite shots tak­en with my mobile phone.

Top tips for taking amazing nature photos on your phone

This pho­to is of the Pon­dalowie surf break. It was absolute­ly pump­ing and I took the shot as I was leav­ing from the top of the board­walk as you go over the last dune. It’s got the inside wave peel­ing and anoth­er lump that’s stood up and thrown out the back. I man­aged to get some dune veg­e­ta­tion in the fore­ground which gives the shot some depth. Pon­di doesn’t get much bet­ter than this!

Top tips for taking amazing nature photos on your phone

I found this beard­ed drag­on in my back­yard and was show­ing the kids. It’s a good close-up for a phone pho­to and the black and white fil­ter seemed to suit it.

Top tips for taking amazing nature photos on your phone

Anoth­er one of Pon­dalowie in the evening, look­ing north across the bay from the vil­lage. I was on the bal­cony hav­ing a drink with some friends who were stay­ing in one of the shacks. To me, it just cap­tures what is spe­cial about the place. It’s slow-paced and relaxed, there’s cars on the beach and boats on the moor­ings, you can see the cray fleet and islands in the back­ground, and the amaz­ing colours. It’s a spe­cial place enjoyed by many.

One for the road

Top tips for taking amazing nature photos on your phone

I know this shot isn’t of wildlife, veg­e­ta­tion or land­scapes, but I couldn’t resist includ­ing it. I took this shot in Tanun­da at a place called the Songroom. I was there to see Mick Thomas per­form a show and this mas­sive organ was the back­drop to the guys on the stage. They had amaz­ing light­ing in there and those colours are all nat­ur­al. You can see the gui­tar on its stand in the fore­ground for size com­par­i­son. That’s one huge organ!

Last words

My secret tip: my daugh­ter taught me a lot! I actu­al­ly start­ed with Insta­gram to mon­i­tor my daughter’s social media as a respon­si­ble par­ent, and my own inter­est start­ed from there. I like to see pho­tos post­ed by indi­vid­u­als who have sim­i­lar inter­ests to me. As for what my daugh­ter taught me, well, I couldn’t even work out how to set up an account, let alone how to post a pho­to with­out her. I’ve got it pret­ty sussed now.

If you love tak­ing pho­tos in South Australia’s beau­ti­ful nation­al parks, or want to see great shots oth­ers have tak­en, use the hash­tag #Nation­al­ParksSA on Face­book, Insta­gram or Twit­ter, or fol­low Mark’s Insta­gram feed.

Inter­est­ed in more pho­tog­ra­phy tips? Check out these ideas for improv­ing your wildlife pho­tos.

This sto­ry was orig­i­nal­ly post­ed in Novem­ber 2016.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living