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Spring is coming – catch the explosion on camera | Tanya Perdikou

Longer days means more chances to capture spring's wildlife – and why not enter the British Wildlife Photography Awards?

Share your signs of spring photographs on our Flickr group

Here at the Wildlife Trusts, we get very excited about the approach of spring. We relish the signs we see every day on nature reserves throughout the UK – the bursting of a blossom bud, the promise of a daffodil shoot yet to explode, the lurching of a toad through damp grass.

Suddenly things speed up, crocuses which have teetered on the brink of glory for so long are blazing out in violets, yellows and pinks. Parks, gardens and pavements carry human traffic once more, overzealous sun-worshippers bare their legs and lambs dance in the fields. There is much about spring to celebrate, and with longer daylight hours and wildlife much more visible, nature photographers can go to town.

Birds will be bustling for mates and territory, so consider trying to snap them as they perch on bare branches, singing to prove their worth. Flocks are on the move too: there's the chance to capture a murmuration of starlings like wisps of smoke, or the vibrant reds and golds of a charm of goldfinches.

Long, yellow catkins will be hanging down in profusion and, at their ripest, give off little clouds of pollen at the slightest disturbance. Capturing this nimbus of fertility is a challenge for any photographer.

Believe it or not, when woodlands roll out the bluebell carpet for spring, and other classic flowers break through the leafy slumber, cloud can be the photographers' best friend. Harsh sunlight can bleach or 'blow-out' white and blue flowers in particular – losing those subtle hues that make them our favourites. An overcast day will keep the saturation you need, but don't forget your shutter speed may be lower in a shady woodland so a tripod or sturdily held camera is a must.

Instead of going for that 'all-in' shot, why not get low among the flowers and look to pick out a few heads among the carpet – an aperture of f5.6 or less will have a great impact. Capture a feeling of tranquillity by framing your picture through the trees. Silver birches in particular can add a great dimension.

Reptiles are some of the most challenging creatures to photograph, but this is the best time to try, as lizards and adders wake from their winter hibernation from February onwards. A little research on the best areas for these scaly subjects should be followed with a site visit. Look for sandy, open paths or warm rocks and walls, where the cold-blooded critters will warm up before a day's hunting. Arrive before the sun gets too warm and they make their escape. Don't forget the adder is our only venomous snake – a longer lens allows you to keep your distance. Be sure to watch your step too.

Again, a day with some cloud cover will allow you to pick out the finer details. Eye contact can make or break your image, so whatever you get in focus, ensure the eyes are pin-sharp. With long bodies and heads, it is important to have plenty of depth-of-field, perhaps around f8 upwards to ensure you capture all those key features. Patience is a virtue, and waiting for that split second when a forked tongue pierces the air will make your trip worthwhile.

As competitions like the British Wildlife Photography Awards demonstrate, our appetite for wildlife images continues to grow. This year, the Wildlife Trusts are sponsoring the category 'Living Landscape: Connectivity'. We want to transform the UK into a living landscape, where wildlife thrives everywhere from urban centres to rivers and moors.

Never underestimate the importance of your images in achieving this. By capturing the captivating, elemental magic of spring, you are helping to kindle a connection with nature in people that can lead to a life-long bond.

• Tanya Perdikou works for the Wildlife Trusts © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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