Rick Hobbs Photography

Wildlife/Nature/Outdoor Photography

Photo Tips

Photographing Around Your Home

Photographers can work on their craft and create several very nice images right on their own property, or nearby. While it is fun to visit new places or go on exotic trips, it is much less expensive to photograph around your home, plus you have the benefit to re-shoot your subjects in different lighting or weather conditions. This makes it easier to get deeper coverage with a variety of images for the same subject. Many photographers ignore things that are easily accessible at or near their home. This article ties into the previous one listed below about creating your own opportunities at home.

Tip #1 pay attention to or improve your awareness of photographic subjects that are at or near your home.

Pikes Peak at sunrise - Woodland Park, Colorado

Living in the mountains of Colorado I can take advantage of a wide variety of subjects at or near my home. All of the photographs in this article were created within 20 feet of my home. While you may have different subjects where you live, I'm sure you can find or create great opportunities for yourself as well.

Tip #2 make it a self-assignment to find or attract subjects to or near your home.

Pikes Peak - Woodland Park, Colorado

The two images of Pikes Peak above and the one below were all created while standing on my deck. Since I can shoot off my deck, I have a wide variety of sunrise, sunset images and can shoot the scene on a foggy morning or after a snow storm. I can take advantage of varying lighting conditions caused by approaching storms, cloud formations interacting with the mountains, and of course shooting images of the first light of the day, lighting the peak at 14,110 feet.

Tip #3 - shoot your subjects with a variety of lighting and weather conditions for different looks of the same subject.

Fireworks shot off Pikes Peak at midnight on New Years Eve - Woodland Park, Colorado

In the previous article I discussed how I created the opportunity to make some great images of a western bluebird by doing the research and building nesting boxes to attract the bluebirds to my home. Once they moved in I was able to create hundreds of different images showing a wide variety of behavior because my subject was available every day.

Tip #4 figure out how to be creative and provide your potential subjects with what they need to come to you.

Western Bluebird with a grasshopper to feed its young - Woodland Park, Colorado

I also wanted to photograph hummingbirds so I hung hummingbird feeders on the front and back side of our home. We also planted a variety of hummingbird flowers in our wildflower gardens so when they come the hummers can enjoy the feeders or the natural wildflowers so they stay all summer. Now we have more than 50 hummingbirds during July and August every year. I learned what equipment I needed and how to setup a photo shoot that would attract the hummingbirds to where my camera was setup giving me the opportunity to sit in a chair and create hundreds of great hummingbird images while sitting on my patio. How easy is that?

Tip #5 try to create an environment that will help you to be successful and reach your goals.

Hummingbird feeding from a columbine flower from our wildflower garden - Woodland Park, Colorado

The hummingbirds also nest on our property because they have the essentials they need including food, water and shelter.

Tip #6 provide what they need and they will come, and stay, giving you great pleasure and opportunities.

Male Rufous hummingbird - Woodland Park, Colorado

The image above was created sitting in a chair in the shade only 5 feet from my house. The image below was made while sitting in the shade on my patio having lunch and enjoying a cool beverage.

Hummingbird approaching the Colorado state flower from our gardens - Woodland Park, Colorado

Below is an image of a male Rufous in flight during one of the hummingbird shoots done on my patio. I always try to create as many different types of images as possible. This requires both time and patience but it is well worth it to me.

Tip #7 create a wide variety of images by having the subjects at your home, and being patient.

Male Rufous in flight - Woodland Park, Colorado

Another thing we did to attract wildlife to our home is to create a water feature directly outside our front door. This includes a couple small ponds, 45 feet of stream, and 10 small waterfalls. All wildlife needs water and adding some type of water on your property is one of the most important things you can do to attract wildlife on a regular basis.

Tip #8 if you can add a water source to your property you are guaranteed to attract more opportunities.

Two black bear cubs playing in one of our small ponds - Woodland Park, Colorado

The image above, with the bear cubs playing in the water, was shot through the window of our front door. Over the years we have seen a wide variety of wildlife come to take advantage of the water in our water feature. The list of wildlife we have seen include: bears, foxes, bobcat, deer, elk, coyote, moose, all the birds, squirrels, chipmunks, skunk, butterflies, mountain lion and who knows what comes to visit at night. All come to drink, take a bath, some come to cool off and others come to eat bugs or worms, etc.

Robin - Woodland Park, Colorado

Adding multiple natural perches in and around the edges of the water feature give the birds coming to the water a place to land before they decide where to enter the feature depending on if they are there to drink, take a bath, find nesting material or something to eat.

Stellar Jay - Woodland Park, Colorado

Tip #9 - consider the background in your images when deciding where to place the perches.

Robin drinking at one of the falls - Woodland Park, Colorado

If you have an interest in flower gardens, it is easy to create those and enjoy photographing the flowers, butterflies, or other subjects that are attracted to the flowers. Below is just part of one of our wildflower gardens, these gardens were planted to attract hummingbirds and butterflies. However, the birds also use them for nesting material and eating bugs or worms.

Part of one of our wildflower gardens - Woodland Park, Colorado

I usually have a couple cameras with different length lenses on them readily available because you never know when an opportunity will be presented.

Red Fox shot out of our patio door - Woodland Park, Colorado

This fox in the image above and the image below was only 10 feet from the water and was photographed out our patio door.

Red Fox shot out of our patio door - Woodland Park, Colorado

Below is one of the images of nature's fury as a major wildfire that burned 30 square miles this summer came to within 2 miles of our home. Unfortunately, this image was also created within 20 feet of our home the day before we received our evacuation notice. Thankfully the wind and the firefighters worked together so we were spared.

Waldo Canyon Wildfire - Woodland Park, Colorado

Hopefully, this information will help you think of ways to attract subjects to or near your home and bring you additional pleasure and photo opportunities in the future. By creating an environment on our property that provides wildlife with shelter, feeders or natural food sources, nesting material, bird houses, and most importantly water, we have been blessed with constant visits from our wildlife friends.


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