Katydid by Cyrene Krey

Backyard Wildlife Photography

A lot of times when I talk to people about doing wildlife photography, they immediately think of photographing exotic animals in hard to get to locations all around the world. And while that’s certainly true for some photographers, I spend my time much closer to home. In fact, I spend most of my time at home in my own backyard. I love traveling and exploring new areas, but the fact is that it can sometimes be cost or time prohibitive to do that. And that’s true for a lot of people. So I thought I’d talk a little bit about photographing backyard wildlife, wherever your backyard may be.

Abstract Leaf in Water
Not everything you photograph has to represent exactly what you see. This is an abstract photo of a leaf in a blue bowl filled with rain water, dirt, and bugs. Although I took some clearer images of this leaf, I loved the soft abstract feeling of the photo. Don’t be afraid to get artistic. Blurry, out-of-focus images can have a beautiful, serene quality can that be quite pleasing. If you see something that isn’t quite what you want, but you love the texture or the colors, turn it into something abstract and have fun with it!
Robin with Food by Cyrene Krey
If you have trees in your yard, you’ll have birds. I happen to have a lot of trees so I have quite a few birds. But even if you just have one, they’ll visit and if you keep watching, you can end up with some neat photos. If there isn’t a lot of large trees in your yard, you can attract birds by adding bird houses, bird feeders, and bird baths to your yard or porch. If you place it close enough to a window, you can even sit inside your house and get photos of wildlife in your yard without ever stepping foot out your front door (though I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t want to go outside! :D).
Katydid by Cyrene Krey
Make sure to go small! Insects, flowers, leaves, even grass can make some really compelling photos because most people don’t look at their surroundings in that much detail up close (and, depending on how close you get, can’t without a magnifying glass). You’ll be surprised by what you see if you focus on the little things.
Red Berry
Have fun and don’t be intimidated! Everyone has their own style and interests. Find something that draws you in and explore with some new ways of looking at it. Bugs, grass, leaves, birds, raccoons, puddles…whatever it is that you want to explore, go for it and have fun! 🙂

In other news…I’ve fully revamped my website. Check it out at cyrenekrey.com! I also have a Facebook page and I’d love it if you liked my page 🙂

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Yellow Plant by Cyrene Krey

Trail Steward at Clayton Andrews Forest Preserve

In addition to my volunteer work with “Hoo” Haven, I also volunteer for the Forest Preserve District of Winnebago County as a trail steward for the Clayton Andrews Forest Preserve. It’s an adorably small preserve in a subdivision in Roscoe, IL. There’s one little trail that goes through the preserve which is used mostly by local residents (and me!). I grew up in a home that backs right up to the preserve. Growing up, I spent a good deal of my time in the wooded area behind our house, before it was ever an official forest preserve. So becoming a trail steward for this area has been a lot of fun for me.

Thankfully most of the residents take pretty good care of this area so there isn’t a lot of work for me to do. I pick up the occasional trash and pay attention for things that appear out of order, but generally I get to walk around with my camera and focus on the beauty around me.

Yellow Plant by Cyrene Krey
One of the lovely plants encountered during my last visit to the preserve. One of the things I love about prairies is how much they change from season to season, even day to day, which leads to a huge variety of colors and shapes to stumble across. It’s a dream for a nature photographer! 😀
Purple Plant by Cyrene Krey
Always one of my favorite plants to see! I love the colors and the different textures. Even in this small grouping, there were a few different shades of pinks/purples and both soft and spiky looking textures.
Beetles Mating by Cyrene Krey
Beetles! I love beetles. It’s easy to ignore how pretty and colorful they are because of how small they are. I found a group of them who were also enjoying the prairie (and working on making little baby beetles).

Several of the photos from this trip and from my visit to Nachusa are available for sale for a limited time on my website at http://www.cyrenekrey.com/Prairies/.