Yesterday, the kids and I met up with some friends at Lake Katherine--a nature center and botanic gardens. It's one of my favorite places to go for inspiration, and a good place to let the kids get out and see what they can see. The hiking trail is a giant circle, so there's no worry about them running ahead and getting lost.
I'll take my camera and have different ideas of what I'm looking for: contrast, shapes, color, birds, bugs, trees, water...
Yesterday, I just photographed what I found interesting. Later I'll sketch some of these in my sketchbook, and turn them into works on their own.
A heart-shaped leaf caught in a spiderweb
Goldfinch dining on coneflower seeds
Monarch butterfly on a butterfly bush
Fat, fluffy sunflower
Rocks at the edge of the lake
Super friendly duck
Frog! (Look closely, he's camouflaged!)
Waterfall, stream, trees
Having your camera* allows you to quickly grab visual references--this is especially important when you are travelling with people who won't wait for you to sit down and sketch things out.
Take your camera and take a walk!
* For the record, I shot all of these with a Canon Powershot A540. It has 6 mega pixels. I got it second hand. You don't need a giant monster digital SLR with 12 megapixels to get decent images. However, if you HAVE a giant monster digital SLR, I envy you.