Years ago, my husband bought me a bird feeder for our anniversary.
We mounted it on a pole in the backyard and I watched from our sunroom windows as the birds would flock back and forth from the feeder to the wetlands just beyond our yard.
I removed the window screens, set my camera on a tripod with a remote trigger, and fired away from a hidden spot so I wouldn’t scare the birds away.
A few years later, I decided to plant a butterfly bush so we built a small flower garden around the base of the feeder. I was thrilled watching the butterflies and bees gather on the flowers.
The day I noticed my first hummingbird was just like Christmas! I found myself spending the late afternoons shooting in the backyard capturing beauty without having to worry about starting dinner late.
Last winter, my husband suggested that we expand the flower garden. We figured that it would be a win-win to bring the pollinators to our vegetable garden while also giving me more varieties of flowers to photograph.
I set out to research the best perennials for pollinators while he got to work designing the structure and layout of the project. By mid-spring, I had about 800 square feet of compost just waiting for flowering plants.
I hit up all the Master Gardener plant sales in the area, found new nurseries with unique varieties, and even ordered plants from Etsy.
You might think we have a huge piece of land, but we don’t. We have under a ¼ of an acre which we’ve filled with a vegetable garden, blueberry bushes, a rose garden, and now a pretty large pollinator garden.
In the spring, I photograph the plants as they’re pushing through the ground reaching for the warmth of the sun. The summer brings caterpillars nibbling on the leaves, bees to the blooming flowers, and a color burst that only Mother Nature could create.
Fall is filled with turning leaves, late blooming flowers, and lingering butterflies. Winter welcomes overwintering birds nipping on the drying seeds and resting on the bare branches left for their perches.
I’m not sure I can find the right words to describe the joy that our little backyard farm has brought me. On days when I’m overwhelmed with life and too busy to make time to create, I can always find a few moments to walk in the yard with my camera.
In the early morning, I carry out my camera and coffee, doing some garden chores while mixing in shooting in the golden light and listening to the world awaken. The afternoon brings butterflies warming their wings in the sunlight, begging to be photographed.
And in the late afternoon light, my local Clickin Moms friends come over and we shoot together in the backyard while we sip wine and catch up on our lives. The garden gives me fresh cut flowers for bouquets for sick friends, dinner parties, and to brighten up our home.
Our little farm has become what I lovingly refer to as my backyard living studio. I find myself making less and less excuses to not pick up my camera because I know there will always be a subject waiting to have it’s photograph made.