NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
If you’re having a hard time coming up with some New Year’s resolutions, feel free to add some of these.
- Watch more sunrises and sunsets.
- Join a conservation organization.
- Take a kid fishing, hunting, boating, hiking, camping.
- Try something new in the outdoors.
- Volunteer at a nature center.
- Sit around a campfire more often.
- Spend more time with my spouse outdoors.
- Go visit Johnny Morris Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium.
- Go explore new outdoor destinations
- In spite of everything, be more thankful we live in a country where we have the freedom to enjoy the great outdoors.
MAKE THIS A YEAR OF OUTDOOR MEMORIES
2020 will go down in history as the year of a pandemic, politics, negative news, riots, a broken economy, and a divided nation. Let us all hope and pray this year is a lot better.
One of the best ways to help make 2021 a better year is to get outdoors and make memories with your family, friends or by yourself. You see, that’s really what the great outdoors is all about. A big buck or big bass will certainly create a memory. But, so will the view at the top of a mountain after a long hike with your spouse. So will a special camping trip with your kids. So will a canoe or kayak trip with friends. So will time alone around a campfire by yourself reflecting back on all the outdoor memories you have made.
The bonus is, while you are out there, you don’t think about work that needs to be done or bills that need to be paid and all the bad stuff going on in the world. You’re too busy making outdoor memories that will stay with you in your heart and mind forever.
THE OUTDOORS IS GOOD FOR YOU
I recently read that in a clinical study 82% of those who contracted COVID-19 had a vitamin D deficiency. You can take vitamin tablets or eat certain foods that are high in vitamin D but the best way to get your vitamin D is sunshine. You get sunshine when you’re out enjoying the great outdoors and even when it’s cold.
Instead of TV shows not really worth watching and the news that does nothing but depress you, get outdoors and take a walk through a winter woods or watch the sunrise over a frosted field.
Instead of worrying about all that’s going on in the world, sit around a campfire and think about how blessed you are. Watch the flames dance and flicker as sparks float upward into the sky and wood smoke drifts through the air.
Unless you are with a lot of other people you don’t even have to worry about wearing masks and social distancing. The great outdoors is good for your body and it’s good for your soul.
A GREAT TIME FOR WILDLIFE WATCHING
Right now is a great time for wildlife watching. With the leaves gone and maybe snow on the ground, wildlife can be seen better than any other time of year. Be patient and don’t expect to encounter a multitude of species. Early morning and late evening are the best times to watch wildlife.
Use a good set of binoculars and glass at a distance first as birds and animals will tolerate you more. Good binoculars help you see the glint of an eye, the flittering of a wing or a nose or antler but focusing on details can blind you to peripheral things. Use your binoculars only about 70% of the time and the remainder searching with your naked eye. Look with the sun behind you, if possible. That way the sun acts as a spotlight and projects a sharp, clear picture.
Stay alert. Wildlife often can be seen traveling back roads. Water is another great place to look. Stay quiet and try not to move too much and your efforts will be rewarded.
TAKING WINTER PHOTOS WITH YOUR SMART PHONE
In photography, the magic hour refers to the time just before and after the sunset and sunrise. During this time, the lighting conditions are perfect for outdoor photography and you can take fantastic photos using just your smart phone.
Since the sun is lower during the winter months, the magic hour is longer. This means there will be more time to capture great landscape photography during ideal natural lighting times.
While winter can be a beautiful time of the year, it’s much harder to capture eye popping photos. Landscape is dead, trees barren, and overcast skies can make everything look hazy. Many photographers will convert images in to black and white to counter the lack of natural color.
However, you can find color if you look. Sunrises will create wonderful oranges and pinks over a landscape. Clear skies will look brighter when they contrast with a drab landscape. There are plenty of places to find color, just be patient and scout for it. You just never know what you will find that will make a great picture.
Outdoor World presents interesting facts and stories from Larry Whiteley host of the award-winning Outdoor World Radio show. Each weekly column offers something you might not have known about our great outdoors.
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