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I always appreciate when friends send me links to articles relevant to our program, and to encouraging people to slow down and take notice of the world around us. This one was sent from a friend in Vancouver, and it resonates with our philosophy at Focus on Nature, and with the movement to nurture the child-nature connection. It's a reminder that when we're trying to engage kids (or adults) in exploring the natural world through photography, the focus should be on awakening their senses and their creativity, and encouraging them to observe and listen and get to know a place before the cameras come out. The camera can then become this wonderful tool for expressing their feelings and observations about a place, and for sharing those with others. 

Here's the article: http://www.slate.com/id/2279659/    

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Comment by Burr Williams on February 1, 2011 at 11:27am
to get kids photographing animal behavior is also a way to get them to slow down...they have to stalk their target, and they have to remain focused on the creature until it leaves...and then it is fun to interpret those behaviors.... for example...this photo -- tell me what is happening?
Comment by Suz Lipman on February 1, 2011 at 10:52am

Hi again! Inspired by your blog, I started a discussion in the Nature Photo Educators group about using a camera as a tool for observation in nature. I love your comments and hope you don't mind if I re-post them in the discussion. I'm hoping that more people will join in! Thanks for all the inspiration.


Here's the discussion:


Comment by Shirley Hunt on February 1, 2011 at 10:40am

Thank you Suz. It's great to get your feedback, and wonderful to hear your own reflections on using photography as a tool for kids to focus their observations and slow down. Trina Koster (my director of photography) and I have found that sometimes during our program the kids try to photograph as many things as possible, without always taking it all in. By reminding them to go slowly, by teaching the creative elements of design and encouraging them to look for those in nature, and by integrating sensory activities into the workshop without cameras, I think we've had an effect to slow them down. Hope so! One of my favourite quotes about photography from a grade 6 boy in a school considered "high need" was: "it made me look deep into nature and notice things that I normally don't notice."  

Thanks again Suz! Great to chat with you. And good to know about Catherine. I haven't connected with her yet so I will very soon.


Comment by Suz Lipman on February 1, 2011 at 10:20am

Hi Shirley!


It's so interesting that you bring this up. I'm an avid photographer (and slow proponent). I love using photography as a means toward observation, as well as a fun activity. I've seen that it's easy to get wrapped up in viewing things from behind the lens and I constantly remind myself to put the camera down, observe and experience.


I really like what you write about awakening senses and creativity. I think photography is especially great for kids, as can be writing in a nature journal. Sometimes these tools have a focusing effect on observations and a slowing effect in general.


You might want to connect with forum member Catherine Adams, if you haven't. She does a lot of nature photography with kids.


Interestingly, someone just mentioned the Slow Photography article on my blog, slowfamilyonline.com and we started a discussion about it. I hope we can continue to share some ideas here.

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