Moving through nature is a wonderful experience, I think we can all agree on that. The fresh air, sounds and smells ground us. We feel better, even after a short walk through the woods. As I walk along paths winding through the trees, moss and ferns with my camera as my companion - I slow down and enjoy it even more. Because the camera is with me, I have a reason to stop and look at the world of mother nature through the view finder.

I notice myself scanning for shapes, textures, colors and beautiful flowers, interesting mushrooms and much more. When we bring a camera into nature, we truly see it in a new light. A walk that would take an hour takes twice as long (if not more) because I stop and take photos. I also head off the beaten path. I want to capture images of things hidden deeper in the forest, the things not seen from the path. I am drawn by beautiful light, an interesting composition or just a feeling that "going that way seems like where there could be a good photo waiting".

If you saw me go for a forest walk with my camera from above I am sure it would look like I was lost. Zig-zagging back and forth, completely turning around to go a different way, circling back... The thought of just going for a walk for a bit to get outside and move a little seems boring and tedious. Yet with my camera I get in the zone and loose track of time. My partner calls to ask when I will be home. "Soon, I just want to go a little further, check if there's anything interesting around this bend". Even when I have decided I am done, and just walking on the path home details in the underbrush distract me and I keep stopping for more photos. It takes longer than it should and I love it! Now, whether you are headed out for a short walk in the forest, a mushroom foraging excursion or a longer hike there are some things I always recommend thinking about and packing. Here are some of my tips on outdoor gear:


When walking in a forest, mountainous landscape, through fields or around a lake in any natural environment really it's important to dress well. The ground might be undulating so good, comfortable shoes with proper ankle support is key. It's a plus if they are waterproof! I often find that deep in a forest the moss can stay quite wet, and I like not being hindered by small streams or puddles. A good hat is nice as well, a wool one protects you from sun as well as rain. Feeling like you can move unhindered and comfortable is also important, so be sure to find a good pair of pants. Mine have good pockets to keep my phone, lens cap and any other necessity easily accessible. They are also water repellant to further protect me from whatever mother nature throws my way. Depending on the season you might want to pack a warmer layer, like a packable down jacket, or a shell in case rain is in the forecast. Because we do not let the weather stop us, there are some amazing photos to be captured in or after a rainfall!

In my bag

I have a variety of bags that I use depending on what I am headed out to do. A small daypack is enough for a forest walk or foraging session, but if I am spending a longer day outside or going hiking I would wear a hiking bag with better support in the system. Besides my camera, an extra lens + an extra battery and memory card, these are some other items I never leave the home without: compass, snacks (trail-mix or energy bar), water, coffee, first aid kit and a headlamp (if you think you will be out after dark).

Sitting down in a beautiful spot listening to the sounds of nature with a cup of warm coffee, tea or hot chocolate is a lovely experience in all its simplicity. It tastes better outside and after spending time outside and moving using my own body I somehow feel like I have earned the rest and snack. A gratifying feeling!

If it's not something you normally do, deciding to put on the clothes, pack the bag and head outdoors can seem daunting. Even if it is just to your neighboring forest or park. Just remember that less is more: Keep it simple and focus on the essentials. You do not need new or fancy gear, most of what I use is bought second hand. And a small camera with one lens is enough, if you bring too much or pack to heavy you will not have a good time. My go to kit is the OM-5 and M.Zuiko 20mm F1.4. It can hang across my shoulder without me really noticing it, but then being there when I see an image, ready to capture what nature has to offer.

Hopefully this post has given you some inspiration and useful tips to help you head out into nature. Enjoy it, walk slowly, dare to veer off the beaten path and keep an open mind. I am sure you will have a great experience, forget about time and come home tired, happy, recharged and with plenty of new photos!

Live slow and stay wild.

It’s Get Outdoors Day, so you know what that means - grab your camera and get going! 

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ABOUT Rania Ronntoft

Instagram: @grainandfern

I live in a small, northern town in Sweden called Sundsvall. It's located in a valley surrounded by forests. Here I work as an outdoor & lifestyle photographer. I try to lead a slow, mindful life rich with experiences, not things - enjoying the small things in life and going on close by adventures. Nature is what heals and inspires me and you can really feel the colors and textures of nature in my pictures. They're moody, warm and down to earth, kind of like autumn - which happens to be my favorite season. My hope is to use my photography and online presence to tell stories that inspire others to spend time in the wonderful nature that we in Sweden are lucky enough to have very close at hand. As I've found my calling and my niche I've also curated clients who share my interests and love for nature, like Lundhags, High Coast Whisky, Naturkompaniet & Elles Utemat. Besides photography I love foraging and cooking with wild food, bouldering, having good conversations by a fire, exploring craft beer and playing board games.



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