Fall Photography in Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve

Today I took a walk through the woods at Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve in Fishers, IN. It’s basically a suburban oasis of forest and natural grassland.

I had five kids with me, but for this post, you can just go alone.

Bringing the Nature to you

Spending so much time at home these days, it can be a bit of an adjustment heading into public, even if it’s a natural and somewhat remote setting. Each time we spend some time in nature, I’m always glad we do!

I hope this brings some peace to anyone who is quarantining or currently without large swaths of nature in which to roam.

Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve in fall

Depth vs Expression

For the next two images, I noticed this woman as I walked along a trail and couldn’t resist taking her photo. It was a nice moment. Which of the two images do you like best? They’re very similar but have two subtle differences. Leave a comment and let me know!

Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve

The most obvious difference is her facial expression. The top photo is more serene and the second is almost funny. I think she was having her photo taken by her husband off to the side.

The second, more subtle difference is the depth of field. The top photo was taken at f/11 so it has more depth than the second photo, which is f/2.8. Although, at this distance from the subject, it’s not as pronounced.

I prefer the depth of the second photo with the expression in the first. But since I don’t make fake photos by combining images, I’ll choose the first photo as my favorite because of the expression.

Abstraction

For the next two images, I played with depth again to bring out some different abstract qualities in the scenes.

Indianapolis Fall Photography

For the image above, I liked how the shape of the leaves and the sunlight combine for some interesting abstract patterns. I used more depth (f/11) to get more of the shapes into focus. Also, in this case I thought the black & white edit better highlighted what I liked about the scene.

The image below is from the same area, but with the shallow depth and focus in the foreground, I ended up liking the color version better.

Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve

This next image below had some impressionistic qualities that caught my eye. By using a shallow depth of field, the foreground and background fall quickly out of focus to add to the painterly quality of the photo.

Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve in October

Visitors and Residents

The trails at Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve were busy with dog walkers and families having their portraits taken. We also passed some permanent residents who had not-so-recently had some flowers placed at their resting place.

Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve Fishers Indiana

Photographic Elements

This next section features some images that highlight basic concepts of photography and composition: color, line, texture, shape, pattern and more.

Fishers Indiana Fall Photography
Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve

Get Bent

When I saw the bent and gnarled vines below, I thought it looked cool in real life, but I wasn’t confident it would translate well into a photo. I decided to take a shot anyways and it turns out I was wrong!

The black & white edit really highlights the shapes as does the high contrast.

Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve

Shooting a Photo Story

Today we head to the creek to look for a little motivation for shooting a photo story.

It can be hard to find the desire to get out and shoot on a gray winter day. However, if as a creative, I need to create, even in less-than-ideal circumstances.

In this post, I’ll walk through the steps that led to the final product. In other words, you have to get to the bottom of the post to see the finished piece.

Go Shoot

First, we had to get out and explore. When the weather is bland, it’s easy to feel like there’s nothing interesting to see, but really there is. We just have to go look for it.

Friday Photo Tips

If you’ve seen any of my social media channels, you’ll know I post a tip each Friday with some friendly advice.

The week I shot this story, my post was about getting out and shooting a story. You can view that photo tip below.

Follow me on Instagram, Facebook or YouTube to see future Friday Photo Tips. You can learn how to improve your photography no matter what your level of experience is.

The Final Photo Story

Now for the finished piece! Watch the video below to see how I applied the advice from the Friday Photo Tip to the images and video clips I shot.

Subscribe!

Hey, my YouTube channel is one of the places we post our Friday Photo Tips and photo stories. Subscribe to see our latest videos as soon as they’re posted.

ALSO, I have a secondary, more vanity-driven motive for asking you to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Currently, my channel has the following name in the URL: UCDm1S5mxu4ZSFEstNy6civA.

I do not like that. When I hit 100 subscribers I can change it to something nice like ZachDobsonPhoto.

^^^^^^^^^SUBSCRIBE^^^^^^^^^

Related Posts

Here are some other personal stories I created about just going out and doing things.

I hope this inspires you to do things, too! And then create some art! Yeah!

Flat Fork Creek Park

Flat Fork Creek Park Fishers Indiana

Visiting Flat Fork Creek Park

Flat Fork Creek Park is tucked away in the southeast corner of Fishers, Indiana.  During this trip, Zach seeks different ways to capture the feel of this park at this time of year.  

Flat Fork Creek Park Fishers Indiana

Blue skies

A bright sunny noon hour doesn’t often make for great photography, but sometimes you have to make the best of a situation! Giant clouds and blue skies are features of a midday shoot that I can use to my advantage.

Harsh sunlight can make photos boring and flat with washed out colors and dark shadows. During this shoot I took a wider view and utilized the big sky to add perspective and keep the images interesting.

For more photography tips while shooting in midday light, check out my free handy downloadIt has (more than) 5 helpful tips to make better images in bright sunlight.

Flat Fork Creek Park Fishers Indiana
Flat Fork Creek Park Fishers Indiana
Hamilton County Indiana Park
Flat Fork Creek Park Fishers Indiana
Flat Fork Creek Park Fishers Indiana

Have you visited Flat Fork Creek Park? What were your favorite parts? Have another park I should visit with my kids? Let me know in the comments below.

Related Posts

We go to a lot of parks; here are some of our favorite state parks…

Barefoot Beach Preserve

A walk through native landscapes

Humans and nature are inextricably linked and I work to show that when I shoot nature and landscapes. Walking through Barefoot Beach Preserve in Bonita Springs, FL is an interesting experience.

As I began down the trail, a thicket of native plant life surrounded me. But as I progressed, I noticed more and more signs of human life.

The images below reflect this progression.

Into nature

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barefoot-beach-preserve-florida
barefoot-beach-preserve-florida

An unexpected visitor

While shooting some detail shots of the plant life, I happened to catch a small creature on the leaves. I didn’t notice it when I took the original image, but while editing I found it and cropped the second image to get a better view. Wish I noticed that when I was taking the photo! I could’ve gotten some even better images of it.

“It was a shock to notice the construction through the trees, a building rising from the earth.”

barefoot-beach-preserve-florida
barefoot-beach-preserve-florida

Walking down the trail at Barefoot Beach Preserve, feeling completely immersed in nature, it was a shock to notice the construction through the trees, a building rising from the earth. That moment snapped me back to realize where I actually was, and that unless you’re traveling to the most remote of places, humans are always present having some sort of an impact.

barefoot-beach-preserve-florida

Shell yeah

When the trail reached the beach, dozens of retirees walked the surf picking up shells or just the morning.

I felt that all of the human interactions were important to document with my camera. I want to create a visual record of our world. Viewing images and drawing my own conclusions from people, places and moments in time is what pulled me to photography, and what I aim to do with my work.

barefoot-beach-preserve-florida
barefoot-beach-preserve-florida
barefoot-beach-preserve-florida

Where are some of your favorite places to explore? What type of human interactions with nature do you encounter? Tell me in the comments!

To view some other images of images of Florida nature, check out my post on state parks in the Florida Keys.

Need more Florida?

15 Hours of Mountain Biking

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When a client needs enough photos for a two-day shoot, but day 1 gets rained out completely, it means a 15-hour, sunrise to sunset shoot.  Add to that carrying 20 pounds of gear over miles of trails, up and down hills and rocky terrain, and you have one hard-core day of shooting.

I was up for the challenge, and the resulting images shot for the Brown County CVB’s mountain biking guide were well received.  In the “thank you” section of the guide the CVB’s agency and producer of the shoot, Three Sixty Group wrote…

“Thanks to our skilled photographer Zach Dobson (who managed to capture amazing shots of the trails and the mountain bikers while perching on precarious rocks, lying in the mud and risking poison ivy).”

In the end, there was no poison ivy.  Just a bruised ego from a fall in the mud and a set of images I could truly feel proud of.

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