Convincing today’s wired kids that nature is more exciting than technology is a hard sell. It’s better to find ways for children to integrate technology with their experiences in nature. One of the easiest options is digital nature photography.
1. Cameras Encourage Experiences in Nature
Taking camera-toting children into nature—whether in their own back yards, walking through a woods, or visiting a state or national park—catalyzes visual creativity. Children want to take pictures, so they begin finding all kinds of amazing subjects to photograph.
2. Focus on Nature
One of the most beneficial aspects of taking pictures is how it helps fine-tune our vision. Photography is as much about what picture-takers frame in as what they frame out. Children are able to momentarily dismiss much of what is around them, letting them focus on what is in the camera’s viewfinder.
3. Hybrid Experiences
Children practicing digital nature photography continue enjoying technology. By putting their technological know-how to use outdoors, they develop what Richard Louv in The Nature Principle calls “hybrid thinking.” The two pursuits—one technological, the other natural—fuse together two different intelligences, forming a hybrid way of thinking.
4. Memorializing Moments
Digital photographers return home, where they create slide shows, print artwork, or load JPGs onto smart phones for instant access. Nature is transformed from something “out there” to memories that remain. “I find it appealing to take pictures of nature,” wrote one 5th grader, “because it is like taking home a part of nature.”
Perhaps the greatest benefit for children is social interaction. By printing, emailing, or just showing the image on the back of the camera to others, digital nature photographers spread their enthusiasm for nature and for photography.