Nature Photography: Five Nature Pictures From My Portfolio

Ever since I was a little girl I have always loved nature and animals, although unfortunately I think I have spent relatively little time in completely natural environments. I grew up in Milan, and even though I used to live near a large park, except for a few bike trips we would sometimes take in the surrounding area, as I grew up the time spent in nature diminished considerably. This is probably due to the fact that if you grow up in an urban environment and do not plan to take trips that include farmhouses or a natural relais you lose the opportunity to be in contact with nature for a considerable amount of time.

Today I think that spending time surrounded by nature and in contact with animals is a great privilege and I try to do that as much as possible; there are some natural spaces even near the coastal city where I am currently spending a few months, but it is always a matter of planning a trip because the environment where I live is actually mostly urban. At the moment my best opportunity to spend time in nature and take photographs is in Friuli, the north-eastern Italian region where part of my family lives.

Natural environments bring great benefits to human beings, as has been proven by several studies; above all, living in areas with green spaces increases people’s sense of well-being. In addition, studying or working in contact with nature can improve attention and make us more present to ourselves. I recently read an interview by actress and musician Persia White, who has always been concerned about environmental protection and animal welfare. She told Wild Elements, ” You have to be really intentional about what you’re choosing to watch and what you’re choosing to support. […] I had this epiphany that if I followed nature accounts, and accounts where people were exploring nature, taking dives into the ocean, watching pandas roll around, that’s a beautiful thing and it makes me feel great. […] Interacting with nature, even in a small way, can be so positive.” In fact, many studies show that looking at nature, even if some times only on a screen, can be a real mood-booster.

Based on my personal experience I can confirm that Persia White has a point and I can definitely relate to her words; I am an active member of the Flickr community of photographers and I really love looking at nature-themed photos posted by other users, especially those of flower fields and animals such as chickadees and mountain hares (I rarely get to visit the mountains, so I hope to have more chances to explore them, also because having spent a lot of time by the sea in recent years I haven’t seen snow in a while). Some of the trips I would most like to take include visiting natural environments, such as lavender fields in Provence and tulip fields in Holland. In addition, I would like to visit European wine regions such as Burgundy and Monferrato because I am passionate about winemaking and viticulture, as you can read in my article on the Lorenzonetto Wine Estate in the Friuli region.

Other benefits of nature show an improvement in energy and a significant decrease in stress (which tends to increase in urban environments), as well as benefits to the immune system, sleep quality and general cognitive functions.

I cherish all the memories related to the time I have spent in nature over the years and enjoy looking back at the photos I have taken in natural environments. As with my article on sunset photography, I have decided to create a top five of my favorite photos taken in nature over the years; my entire collection, which I hope to update more often in the future, can be found on Flickr in my Nature album, which also includes my most-viewed photo that I have included in this article as well (it’s the ivy wall I photographed in the Italian town of Pisogne, near Lake Iseo). I have assigned poetry excerpts to each photo because nature has inspired many poets in their writing and it is well known that nature itself enhances creativity.

1) Snails on a Tree Cortex, Lignano Sabbiadoro (North-East Italy):

Snails On A Tree.
Snails – Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy

The Snail – William Cowper

To grass, or leaf, or fruit, or wall,
The snail sticks close, nor fears to fall,
As if he grew there, house and all
                                                Together.

Within that house secure he hides,
When danger imminent betides
Of storm, or other harm besides
                                                Of weather.

Give but his horns the slightest touch,
His self-collecting power is such,
He shrinks into his house, with much
                                                Displeasure.

Where’er he dwells, he dwells alone,
Except himself has chattels none,
Well satisfied to be his own
                                                Whole treasure.

2) Ivy Wall, Pisogne (Northern Italy):

The Beauty of Nature.
Ivy wall – Pisogne, Italy

The Ivy Green – Charles Dickens

Whole ages have fled and their works decayed,
And nations have scattered been,
But the stout old Ivy shall never fade,
From its hale and hearty green.
The brave old plant, in its lonely days,
Shall fatten upon the past:
For the stateliest building man can raise,
Is the Ivy’s food at last.
Creeping on, where time has been,
A rare old plant is the Ivy green.

3) Algae on the Sand, Adriatic Sea (Italy):

Algae - Adriatic Sea.
Sea Algae – Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy

Auguries of Innocence – William Blake

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower 
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 
And Eternity in an hour.

4) Hyde Park Trees in the Fall, London (UK):

Hyde Park – London, UK

Nothing Gold Can Stay – Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

5) Wine Grapes, Emilia Romagna (Italy):

Vigne.
Wine Grapes – Emilia Romagna, Italy

Pablo Neruda – Ode To Wine

Day-colored wine,
night-colored wine,
wine with purple feet
or wine with topaz blood,
wine,
starry child
of earth,
wine, smooth
as a golden sword,
soft
as lascivious velvet,
wine, spiral-seashelled
and full of wonder.

Additional Notes:

The poems I have transcribed can be found in their entirety on websites such as poets.org, poetryfoundation.org and hellopoetry.com; I enjoy reading poetry on these sites and I hope you will find many other nature-related poems to inspire you. Online you can also find Pablo Neruda’s poem “Ode To Wine” in the original Spanish version, if you speak and understand a little Spanish like me.

Persia White’s quote is from the interview “Into The Wild With… Persia White” published in the blog section of Wild Elements.

All pictures are my own.

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