With the winning images from the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2022 Awards on display at the Natural History Museum this month, it’s a great time to encourage your kids to get outdoors and capture pictures of the wildlife on their doorstep.
You could begin by taking your children to see the exhibition which features the winning images from some of the world’s most talented young photographers. They are all under the age of 17 and have photographed wildlife in countries such as New Zealand, Finland, Kenya, the USA, Spain, Italy, Thailand, India, as well as the UK. Young photographers from 93 countries took part in the competition to win a coveted award.
Once the exhibition finishes at the Natural History Museum in London, it will embark on a UK and then international tour.
But even if you don’t get the chance to see the exhibition, you can all take inspiration from what these young people have achieved. You could begin by taking your children for walks and encouraging them to take photographs of the wildlife they encounter along the way.
Nature Photo Opportunities in the Countryside AND in Cities
You don’t have to live in the countryside to encounter wildlife. Take one of the competition’s highly commended pictures of a red deer standing in the snow, for example. It was captured by eight-year-old Joshua Cox in London’s Richmond Park.
Joshua was with his dad when he took the photograph. They’d followed the majestic deer at a safe distance until Joshua was able to get the perfect picture. “He almost looked as if he was having a snow shower,” said Joshua of the deer.
You could take your kids on a trip to your local park or council gardens where they might spot a squirrel, a rat, or a fox. An early morning walk along a towpath, riverbank, or beach could result in the sighting of all kinds of birds, including moorhens, ducks, herons, seagulls, pigeons, and swans.
Taking pictures of wildlife will do more than help your kids to develop their photography skills. It will encourage them to really look at their surroundings and appreciate the creatures that live alongside us. Capturing wildlife in pictures involves a lot of focus, planning, and patience. All of these are qualities that have applications beyond photography. Those same qualities will benefit their study, their encounters with others, and their self-development.
Fun Photo Challenges For The Whole Family
You can make the wildlife photography exercise even more challenging by setting family competitions such as being the first one to take 10 pictures of different birds. Or being the first one to capture 10 pictures of any creature, insect, or animal, whose name begins with the letter ‘B’, for instance.
Of course, there are plenty of other things to photograph, especially at this time of the year. The woods are filled with fungi; their shapes and colours are spectacular. (Just don’t allow your kids to touch or handle any of them since even the most benign looking may be extremely toxic.) Leaves are dropping and mornings are often shrouded in early mist. All these things offer glorious opportunities for your young photographers.
The more they practice, the better they will get.
Who knows, this time next year, it could be your child who is short-listed for one of the coveted Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards prizes.
The competition aside, hopefully, striving to capture a picture of the wildlife they encounter will give your children a lifelong love not just of photography but of the creatures with whom we share this planet. THAT will be the biggest prize of all.
Speaking of picture-perfect outcomes…. Have YOU grabbed a subscription to top children’s magazine BRILLIANT BRAINZ, yet? Your favourite young person will love receiving a brand new activity-packed issue direct to their doormat, every month!