What Is Your Favorite Nature Photography Season?

12 Months National Parks Collage

What is your favorite nature photography season or seasons? Does the number of photos you take match your favorite seasons? What percentage of your photos are taken during each season of the year?

I found myself answering that question, but I didn’t initially intend to do that. It was an unintended consequence of another project.

My plan was to create a “four season collage” of photos taken at some of our U.S. national parks (photo at the top). My plan was to grab one or two national park photos from each month of the year and put them together.

On my computer there is a folder with web sized JPEG photos that I created for the internet. Some of the photos are equipment illustrations or examples of what NOT to do, but many of the photos are my favorites. So I went through that folder and grabbed my favorite national park photos. I ended up with a total of 224 photos. Then I sorted them out by month, picked one or two from each month and created my collage.

The thing that really jumped out at me was the number of photos taken in the fall.  Fall is my favorite season but I was totally surprised by how lopsided the results were. I counted up the photos for each season and put them in a spreadsheet.

Winter – 3%
Spring – 12%
Summer – 8%
Fall – 77%

The results look totally skewed to me. I decided that a result of doing photo workshops and photography tours in Rocky Mountain National Park each year in the fall. But just how much do the workshop photos skew the results? My curiosity was piqued. If I were to go back and collect my favorite nature, landscape, and wildlife photos that were NOT taken in national parks, I thought the results would be a bit more more even. I have a bunch of favorite photos from my Michigan and Ohio workshops in the spring and summer and none of those workshops are in a national park. Add in other photos from favorite photo locations around the country, like a wildlife refuge in San Francisco Bay, and that would even things out a bit more too.

So I went back to the folder of web sized JPEGs again. This time I picked out all of my favorite nature, landscape, and wildlife photos that were not taken in national parks. I found a total of 375 photos. I sorted them by month and season and put the totals in another spreadsheet.

This one surprised me too.  I thought fall would again come out as a slight winner. I was wrong. Summer came out ahead of the other seasons. So when I am not in a national park, I shoot the most photos in summer. I did not know that before I jumped into this photo counting project.

Winter – 10%
Spring – 24%
Summer – 38%
Fall – 28%

You probably have guessed what is coming next. What if I combine the results for all of my nature/outdoor photography, both inside and outside our national parks?

Here are the results. As expected, my favorite season came out the winner.

Winter – 7%
Spring – 19%
Summer – 27%
Fall – 47%

The results are still a bit skewed by when I do photo workshops, plus winter is the only season I do not do workshops, but this does give me a more accurate picture of when I like to shoot. Winter looks a little neglected. Maybe next winter I will get out and shoot some more. Or maybe I will sit by the fireplace and look at beautiful winter photos in photography books and magazines.

What about my other kinds of photography? I haven’t counted but my guess is my family, portrait, and event photography is spread pretty evenly throughout the year.

If you have a folder of your favorite nature photographs, you could do the same thing. Sort them by month and season and see when you shoot the most. You might be surprised.

A collection of my favorite nature photographs. Click for a larger version.