Don’t Throw Away Your Shot! It’s Nature Photography Day

Can you recall a time when you’ve hiked through the woods a deer grazing just 500 feet ahead of you? Or have seen a butterfly perched precariously on a fallen branch? Maybe caught a glimpse of a fox scuttling through your backyard? These are moments that sometimes we wish we had a camera to take a quick picture so that we can savor that moment for years to come, i.e., post it on Instagram. Nature Photography Day embodies not only getting out your camera and getting your Ansel Adams on, but learning how to conserve the natural spaces around you so that wildlife can flourish and be enjoyed for generations to come. June 15th celebrates the photographer in all of us, whether you are a seasoned vet or a beginner, capturing nature at work through a lens is a whole new experience, and it’s closer than you think, try your backyard. 

Attract Wildlife with Your Water Feature

So, what does Nature Photography Day have to do with water features? Well, where’s there’s water, there’s wildlife. This is a chance to incorporate what you already know about water features and extending that knowledge with conservation. It’s as simple as adding wildlife friendly plants to your water garden. So, if you’re looking to add a little National Geographic to your backyard, here are some helpful plants to get you started: 

Arrowhead aquatic plant

Arrowhead – Arrowhead is a great food source for deer, waterfowl and birds, this plant can grow up to 3ft tall and it also provides shoreline erosion protection. 

Blue Lobelia flower

Blue Lobelia – With spikes of blue flowers that bloom in late summer, it attracts hummingbirds in the fall. This plant does well in shade and can grow up to 3ft in height. 

Coontail plant

Coontail – Named after it’s raccoon tail like appearance, it’s a great plant for reducing problematic algae as it takes in phosphorus from the water. This plant does need to be managed so it doesn’t take over the pond.

Joe Pye Weed flowers

Joe Pye Weed – As a pollinator attractor, this plant blooms in late summer and produces beautiful clusters of pink flowers. On cool September nights, you may be able to spot some bumblebees roosting on the flower heads. This plant can grow up to 6ft in height and tends to do better in full sun. 

Marsh Milkweed flowers

Marsh Milkweed – Milkweed is a common butterfly attractor so it’s no surprise that the Marsh Milkweed attracts Monarch butterflies and caterpillars! This plant blooms pink clusters of flowers with a delicate scent. Be prepared, they grow quick, and their blooming cycle is from June to August, they can grow up to 5ft in height. 

For more information about what plants attract which wildlife, please visit the link here.

Capturing Wildlife Through a Lens

Sony Camera sitting in the grass, sense pointing towards the viewer

One of the best ways to capture nature is to just go out with your camera and start taking photos. It can start off being of the plants that surround your pond to the general landscape itself. Who knows, you may catch a few bumblebees in your shot or a cardinal or two. Those are what Bob Ross likes to call “happy little accidents”. Trust me, it’s hard to plan when nature will present itself to you especially when you have a camera in hand. But there are ways to help aid that. A sure way to see some action is to set up a trail camera, they are a great way to catch some of these hidden gem moments when you aren’t around. You can find an array of budget friendly options on Amazon here

So how will you be spending Nature Photography Day? Happy snapping and share with us some of your favorite photos of nature at work! 

For more tips on photography, visit our blog! Read our blog from National Camera Day last year: Capturing the Perfect Water Feature Picture and stay tuned for more photography and videography blogs coming soon!

About the Author:

Leah La Farciola

Like the elusive bigfoot, Leah enjoys the great outdoors. Hiking, biking, attempting to longboard, falling off said longboard, rollerblading, you get the picture. Leah attained a piece of paper from THE Ohio State University that states she can make drawings move on a computer. She is the Multimedia Coordinator for Atlantic-OASE, catch her work on the YouTube.

Add a Water Feature and Save the Bees

In honor of World Bee Day, did you know that your pond or water feature in your backyard could help save the world bee population?

The world needs your contribution to the access of clean healthy water for our bees and you can do that by simply adding a water feature to your yard! The honey bee is more important that in just making honey. They are our pollinators for all of the grown food we eat in our daily life. The habitat that you create can help feed colonies of honey bees. Water feature fountains such as the OASE Quintet and Atlantic Basalt Columns are great pollinator fountains for bees!

Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor, Mike Garcia and his company, Enviroscape LA, do a great job of teaching us how to make pollinator fountains for bees and other insect life!

Mike shows us that you can even help the bees by making your Pond-free waterfall into a pollination water feature by adding some extra rocks to the water to give the bees a place to rest while getting a drink from your water feature!

You can create areas of shallow water, use rocks or twigs to make areas for bees to land on, collect water and not drown. Because pond water is chlorine free this makes the perfect environment for them.

Some fun facts on what bees use water for include:

Cooling – Water acts as air conditioning for the hive.

Humidity for the colony.

Utilize Stored Food – they dilute stored honey with water for food.

Larvae Food – Nurse bees feed the developing larvae.

Digestion – Water helps metabolization of their food.

So, if your pond is losing water it may not be a leak or splash evaporation, it may just be the bees surviving in our world! They can consume at least a quart of water every day, and even more when it is warm.

For more on our buzzing pollinators, see Kim Flottum, editor of the Bee Culture magazine and the book The Backyard Beekeeper.

About the Authors:

Caitlyn Winkle

After graduating from the University of Akron, Caitlyn joined Atlantic-OASE in the fall of 2019. Caitlyn manages the social media and online content for the company. She also supports the Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) Program and Marketing Departments in creating marketing and advertising strategies and plans.

Jim Chubb

Jim is Atlantic-OASE’s Midwest Regional Sales Manager and has 26+ years of sales experience and 16+ years in the water garden industry.

If You Build It, They Will Come

In honor of National Save The Frogs Day I wanted to make our readers aware of just how desperate frogs are for decent places to live and breed, and how fast frogs will find a new water feature. It’s a direct result of there being so little high-quality habitat in the wild. Every little pond or water feature is a beacon, and I certainly don’t have to tell our pond builders out there how quickly the dragonflies and butterflies and birds and frogs respond. 

One particular example always brings a smile to my face. Many years ago we were asked to build a circular patio for a customer at this time of year, in the back yard of a new subdivision. With rain on the way, we worked furiously to dig out the clay in a 16’ diameter circle to about 10” deep before the storm. The rain hit just as we finished raking and tamping the soil. And it rained. And it rained. It rained for over a week. When we got back to the site to finish up almost two weeks later, as we were unloading the tools and wheelbarrows , we noticed our circular excavation was filled to the brim with rainwater. Not unexpected, but the water itself looked very strange indeed – it was jet black in color! 

We came closer, and the black water MOVED. Now we were really interested and dropped to our knees for a better look. Up close, we could see tens of thousands of tiny moving dots, only about an eighth of an inch long, wriggling furiously away from us. I rinsed out my coffee cup and scooped a few dozen up to take a better look. 

There were two shapes visible – the first, a black tear drop, round in front, trailing off to a tiny tail. The vast majority of the wrigglers were this shape. The others, far fewer, were tiny transparent footballs, fatter in the middle, with two black dots – eyes! They were tadpoles and fish fry! We couldn’t figure out how they got there in their thousands – still don’t know to this day. But we did our best to save them.  

We started late that day, after visiting three of our projects in the local area and dumping a bucket of wriggling tadpoles and tiny fry in each. The tadpoles turned out to be spring peepers which found their way out of the ponds and into the trees that season. We still have populations of the fish, a small native minnow, in many of my ponds, where they are excellent insect control. 

IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME! Celebrate Save The Frogs Day on April 25th!

About the Author:


Demi has been in water garden construction since 1986. As Atlantic’s Director of Product Information, if he’s not building water features, he’s writing or talking about them. If you have a design or construction question, he’s the one to ask.