More and more, we are seeing headlines about how doctors are prescribing patients time outdoors. Ailments such as obesity, anxiety, and high blood pressure are just some of the issues nature can help with. As photographers, we spend more time than we care to admit in front of screens. This can lead to depression and other issues. A healthy mind and body are essential to every aspect of our lives—including our photography.
So, if you spend a lot of time shooting indoors, perhaps it's time to take your camera outside to some open spaces. In general, as a society, we have found ourselves spending more time indoors than ever before. Not only are we indoors more, our time is being spent in front of our screens. One news item that has been circulating a lot recently highlights how doctors in Shetland, Scotland have begun to prescribe long walks and bird watching to patients with chronic illnesses. While this may seem silly to some, there have been many studies that show the positive impacts of time in nature on one’s health.
In a recent article on CNN, Dr. Nooshin Razani of UCSF BEnioff Children’s Hospital Oakland explained that “studies have shown that within 15 minutes of being in nature, your stress level goes down, your heart rate [and] blood pressure improve.” She explained that: "Over the course of a lifetime, being in nature can lead to less heart disease as well as improvements in how long people can live."
But it’s not just adults that are spending less time in nature. Kids are as well. Long gone are the days when you drive through a neighborhood and find dozens of kids playing outside. In the book, Last Child in the Woods, author Richard Louv describes a child he met that disliked playing outside. The child explained to Louv that there are no outlets to charge his devices in the woods!
As both kids and adults spend more time indoors, our wild spaces have less and less advocates. Getting kids interested in nature can help cultivate the next generation of ambassadors for our planet. But not only that, according to the Children & Nature Network, getting kids interested in nature can help sharpen their senses, improve their social skills and grades, decrease obesity rates, and reduce aggression. So, how can we get kids interested in nature again? Through photography.
We are all busy as heck these days, but finding a few hours each week to get outside and shoot should be a priority. Getting outdoors always feels good, regardless of what time of the year it is. Whether you are capturing some early morning rays or the birds buzzing around, shooting in nature can be a great way to keep active and improve your mood. And, of course, this will no doubt translate to creating better images.