Four Things to Explore with your Camera in June

Four Things to Explore with your Camera in June

With June comes the summer solstice, making it the month when we get to enjoy the longest periods of daylight of the year. The weather should also theoretically play ball and allow us to get out and about without too much chance of a drenching, but here in Yorkshire, there is no guarantee!

The starkness of winter is a distant memory and we can embrace the warmer and richer tones of summer, enjoying the warmth on our faces as we uncover those dramatic changes that have taken place over springtime.

There is so much going on to inspire your photography during June, so here are four themes to concentrate on to make the most of the month in the middle of the year.

Flowers in the Wild

1/1800  |  f2.8 |  ISO 160

Wildflowers are abundant at this time of year, whether you are trekking through country meadows or exploring your local park. Wherever you are, you will spot orchids, cowslips and buttercups – amongst many others – exploding into life with a burst of colour and vibrancy. And, of course, they make the ideal subject for your photography.

Think about how you compose your images to make the most of nature’s display. Are you going to isolate the flower or place it in an environmental context as part of an epic landscape? Consider what you want to achieve with your picture in order to capture the majesty of the flower.

Although it is natural to immediately think of rural locations when planning to capture wildflowers in your photography, don’t overlook the opportunities to pick them out in urban environments too. The beauty of an orchid against a human-built landscape can be really striking to the eye.

Use interesting foregrounds to frame your wildflower photos, adding perspective and depth to your images and drawing the viewer in immediately. But be wary of too many distractions in the background. You want the flowers to be the star of the show, so let them stand out. Distractions can include too much going on behind the flowers, but also colours that take away from the subject, such as reds that might overpower the flower that you are trying to capture.

Tip: the closer you get to the flower, the shallower the depth of field and the more you’ll be able to blur both foregrounds and backgrounds.

The Next Generation

1/1250  |  f5.6  |  ISO 4000

During June is when we see a lot of young birds take their first forays out into the world after hatching in the spring. Whether it is garden birds, moorland ground nesting birds or the clifftop nurseries of seabirds, June is the time to see the new generation fledge and take flight (typically a little later for our cliff edge nesters), protected by their parents helping them on the way to independence.

It’s not just our feathered friends bringing up the next generation, in both towns and the countryside, you have fox cubs and other young mammals venturing out at this time of year, providing the chance to capture this special stage in these animals’ lives in your photography. Even with common birds like swans, being able to photograph them with their young in tow makes for a more magical image than at other times of the year.

However, it is important to be respectful of the young wildlife and photograph them in such a way that you do not disturb or distress either the young or the adults during this sensitive period in their lives.

One way to achieve this is to make sure you do not go chasing the photograph. Instead, anticipate where they might move and be prepared to capture them on camera when they come into view. From a respectable distance, of course.

For example, with long-tailed tits, you can often hear them through the trees, allowing you to set up a shot so that you can photograph them as they pass through your frame.

Tip: Make sure you use a fast enough shutter speed to get the sharpest images. Go for 1/1000 of a second as a minimum and even faster to get the best possible pictures of them in flight.

Outdoor Recreation

1/1600  |  f3.2  |  ISO 160

June is an active month for many people, with wild swimming, picnics, walking and other outdoor activities on the agenda as the weather becomes more favourable. Those longer days and warmer temperatures allow us to spend more time outside together, getting involved in all manner of events and pastimes.

This also provides the chance to capture the fun on camera. However, for many, the idea of photographing people can take them outside of their comfort zone. It can seem challenging, especially if your regular subjects are flora and fauna.

But it is worth taking a leap of faith and trying to photograph humans at play because these are the sorts of images that tell stories that really last long in the mind. There is a longevity in photographs of people that you might not see with other forms of photography. Indeed, it almost seems like this kind of documentation of society and community improves with age. As we move further away from the time it was taken, the stories within the images take on more intrigue and interest. We love the nostalgia for times gone by, wondering what life was like for the people in the pictures.

A great example of this is the work of Ian Berry. He captured a range of enduring images of people in the mid-20th century, enjoying downtime in Whitby on the Yorkshire coast. From the grandma playing cricket on the beach to the families reclining in the grounds of the abbey, looking out over the town, these are classic examples of capturing moments in time that would otherwise be gone forever.

  • Don't miss my Whitby Secrets Photo Walk on 20th July to get in some great practice capturing the comings and goings of this bustling North Yorkshire seaside town.


1/3200  |  f4.5  | ISO 200

If you had to choose one bird to associate with summer, chances are you would go with the swift. They are woven into the tapestry of both the sights and sounds of summer in both rural and urban settings, nesting as they like to do in houses. It makes sense, then, to add them to your list to photograph in June.

That is not to say they are easy to photograph well. At speeds of up to 69mph, they are certainly a challenge to capture, but a rewarding challenge. And they are almost always on the move too, travelling a distance equivalent to four trips to the moon and back during their lifetime!

It takes a lot of practice, which can be frustrating, but also fun. My tip is to use a fast shutter speed of at least 2/1000s of a second and to activate all of your auto focus points. Leave a wide space around them in the frame so that you stand a better chance of capturing them before they dart off. Alternatively, observe them for a while and anticipate where they will fly to arrange your composition so that you can capture them as they move into your shot.

You will definitely end up with more throwaway shots than successful photographs, maybe discarding 99% of them! However, the thrill of finding the one great image makes it all worthwhile. And, if you can get good at taking photos of swifts, you can pretty much master everything else too!

If you want to know anything else about swifts, I recommend seeking out Leeds Swifts who provide help and advice about how to set up new swift colonies and how to conserve existing nest sites.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published