Last week I shared with you some tips on taking meaningful photos. This week, I thought I would share with you some of my most meaningful nature photos that I have taken. These have been taken throughout my photography career with a variety of different cameras.
It was tough to choose which ones would make the list! I thought about which ones invoked the most meaning with me and went from there. These ones also had a good story to tell – I go into detail about each photo below.
First, here is the gallery of photos I am talking about in the post:
View from the Top
A little bit of a backstory: In Colorado, a popular goal for a lot of people is to hike a “14er.” A 14er is any mountain that stands over 14,000 feet. Colorado has 53 such peaks. Each peak has it’s own level of difficulty and technicality. I have known several people who have managed to hike all 53, which is an incredible feat! I have only summited (made it to the top of) one, which is where this photo was taken.
This photo was taken on top of Colorado’s second highest 14er – Mt. Massive. Mt. Massive stands at 14,421 feet above sea level in the Sawatch Mountain Range. While the trail itself is not difficult in terms of technicalities, it is a long hike to get to the summit. Overall, it is about a 4,500 foot elevation gain.
One of the reasons this one made the list of my most meaningful nature photos is the amount of work it took to get to this location! It took me and my friends nearly 7 hours to get to the top (the length was mainly due to me, the rest of my friends were in WAY better shape). By the time we got to the top, I was gasping for air and my hip was throbbing in pain. However, the view at the top was amazing! To see the mountain range stretched before me was incredible.
This image was captured in Yellowstone National Park back in 2015. From the looks of it, we are in some secluded spot. A peaceful, quiet spot. However, we are actually in the parking lot at the Grand Prismatic Spring. There are people EVERYWHERE, and the noise is quite deafening.
These flowers lined the outskirts of the parking lot. We were waiting for the crowd to clear so we could make it back to our car. With everything going on, it would have been easy for me to miss this beautiful butterfly. Fortunately, my husband and I noticed him fly in and perch on this flower.
I was so happy this delicate little butterfly kept still long enough for me to get his picture. With all the noise and bustle around us, it would have been easy for this little guy to fly off and find someplace else. It was a beautiful, serene moment among the bustle of everything going on around us.
This trip was also the first time I was using a DSLR camera. My wonderful father had gifted me my very first DSLR! It was a Fujifilm Finepix, and I loved it. I was so glad I got it before the trip, because otherwise I might not have been able to capture this beautiful butterfly. It was at that moment I realized how nice it was to have a DSLR camera and all the possibilities contained within that piece of equipment. I would later spend hours learning about my new camera and practicing with it.
Ash to Ash
In August of 2020, there was a wildfire burning close to our hometown. You could smell the smoke in the air, and the horizon was obscured by smoke and ash. From certain points in our town, you could see the flames rising up into the sky. A lot of brave people went out and worked tirelessly to put out those flames. Fortunately, no one was killed in the fire, but it did burn over 130,000 acres.
One of those August mornings, we awoke to find these delicate, grey leaves in our yard. They were perfectly formed and translucent. However, when you touched one, it immediately crumbled to dust. These “ghost leaves” had somehow made their way down from the fire and into our yard.
I am still at a loss as to how such a delicate thing could have landed intact. The leaf in the picture was only about one inch long, which may have aided in its travels. It is something I didn’t ever think I would see in my life. I also hope that there is not another large fire nearby to cause this kind of phenomenon.
Big Horn on Big Hill
This is the most recent of my most meaningful nature photos. A friend had offered to let me take pictures of her to use in my gallery. We went to a local spot to get some great outdoor shots. As we pulled up, we saw a real treat: A heard of about 30-40 Big Horn Sheep! We were both so excited and started snapping pictures.
The shoot continued as planned, a safe distance away. We got some great shots for me to add to my gallery (my friend is the best!). As we were done and heading back, we saw that the heard had climbed a hill. This particular guy was standing on a ledge, with the massive cliff looming in the background. I was so glad I brought with my distance lens!
I loved how the image turned out. It was one lone sheep staring out into the valley. He looks so confident as he stands there. I was so happy to be at just the right place at the right time.
In July of 2020, the Neowise comet passed through our skies. I had seen so many other photographers get these breathtaking images of the comet, and I wanted to get one too. Sadly, I never could seem to find it in the sky. Every night I would step out of my house, only to have my view obscured by city lights.
One night, my husband and I drove out to where there were no lights. The sky was so clear here! I then had to get the settings just right on my camera. It was my first attempt at photographing the night sky, so this was a challenge for me.
I played with the settings on my camera until finally I got it. There it was right on my camera screen! The beautiful white tail of the Neowise comet. I will confess I nearly cried. The image wasn’t the best as far as clarity and “noise” goes. But for me it was perfect.
Out of the nature photos I have personally taken, these are my most meaningful nature photos. These photos span the course of a decade, and I only plan to continue improving my craft from here.
I hope you enjoyed this article! Do you have a photo that you would say is meaningful for you? Let me know in the comments below. Happy shooting!