LANGUAGE FOCUS: How to Describe Nature Pictures in English

By StoryPaul

Cruising Lago Argentino (Santa Cruz, AR)... BRRR!!!
A great way to practice English fluency is to describe things. It sounds easy, but there is always some challenge to it. So the question is: what things can learners describe?

Pictures provide great opportunities to describe things. Today on the internet we can find a lot of pictures to describe. We can also take pictures with our cameras or phones.

Recently, I was challenged by a colleague to share nature pictures for one week. I accepted the challenge. So I shared them with friends and colleagues. But then I realized something. Nature pictures provide a great opportunity to show learners how to describe things in English.

So here we go. Click!

Nature Picture 1: Miami Dolphin

Where did I take it?
I took this one off the coast of Miami.

Let’s describe the picture:
There is a dolphin swimming underwater.
The water is turquoise.

What else can you say about this picture?







Let’s look at the language:

To TAKE a photo / picture (collocation- We take photos or pictures. (We shoot video)
  • I took this picture / this photo.
  • I took this one.

THERE IS / THERE ARE (collocation)- Most common way to describe the existence of anything in English + followed by a verb in GERUND (ing) form
  • There is someone doing something.
  • There is a dolphin swimming.

TURQUOISE (Describing color in English)- When we describe a color, we use the VERB to BE followed by the color, but we do not need to use the word “color”, as in other languages.
  • The water is turquoise color. (incorrect)
  • The water is turquoise. (correct)
*a collocation is a group of words commonly used together to express an idea

OFF THE COAST (collocation- describes a location that is near a coastal area


Nature Picture 2: Lago Acigami

Where did I take it?
I took this picture in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina.

Let’s describe the picture:
There is a huge lake surrounded by tall mountains.
The water is completely still.
The scene is grayish blue.

What else can you say about this picture?





Let’s look at the language:

HUGE (adjective)- describes when something is very, very big
STILL (adjective) - describes when something is not moving
GRAYISH BLUE (language pattern of combined colors)- used when we talk about one color having its effect on another. We add the suffix -ish to the first color.

  • blueish gray
  • greenish white
  • reddish brown



Nature Picture 3:  Piedmontese Wine Country

Where did I take it?
I took this one in Nizza Monferrato, Italy.

Let’s describe the picture:
There are dozens of green vineyards as far as the eye can see.
It is a radiant summer day.
You can see an olive tree in the foreground.

What else can you say about this picture?






Let’s look at the language:

AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE (collocation) - describes something that can be seen from near to far until it cannot be seen any more:
RADIANT (adjective) - sending out light; shining or glowing bright
YOU CAN SEE (phrase) - commonly used to indicate what is visible
FOREGROUND (noun) - refers to the things that appear closest to the camera taking the picture




Nature Picture 4:  Desert by the Sea

Where did I take it?
I took this photo in Paracuru, Brazil.

Let’s describe the picture:
There is a vast desert made up of dunes down below.
There are blue skies and some clouds up above.

What else can you say about this picture?

Let’s look at the language:

VAST (adjective) - describes a great extent or quantity; something immense.
MADE UP OF (collocation) - to be composed of, be constituted of, consist in, consist of
DOWN BELOW (collocation) - located at the bottom of a determined area
UP ABOVE (collocation) - located at the top of a determined area


Nature Picture 5:  Medusa, the Spotted Jellyfish

Where did I take it?
I took this one at the Aquarium of Genova, Italy.

Let’s describe the picture:
There is a spotted jellyfish shaped like a mushroom.
The jellyfish has tentacles that look like transparent curtains with flowers.
The jellyfish appears big in the picture but is actually tiny.

What else can you say about this picture?



Let’s look at the language:

LOOK LIKE (collocation) - appear like; be similar or bear a likeness to
SHAPED LIKE  (collocation) - have a shape like something else
ACTUALLY  (adverb) - in fact, in truth (SPANISH SPEAKERS, it does not mean "right now")
TINY  (adjective) - very, very small



Nature Picture 6:  The Land of Ice and Snow

Where did I take it?
I took this picture at the Perito Moreno Glacier in Santa Cruz, Argentina.

Let’s describe the picture:
There is a huge mass of ice surrounded by forests and mountains.
It reminds me of Superman's fortress of solitude.

What else can you say about this picture?

Let’s look at the language:

SURROUNDED BY (collocation) - be in the middle of
REMINDS ME OF  (collocation) - used to express when one thing makes you think about something similar

Nature Picture 7: Dino Walks the Town

Where did I take it?
I took this photo in the City of Buenos Aires, near a science exhibition featuring dinosaurs.

Let’s describe the picture:
There is a silhouette of a dinosaur in front of a street corner.
There aren’t many people on the street, only a man passing by who turns to look at the dinosaur.

What else can you say about this picture?

Let’s look at the language:

SILHOUETTE (noun) the dark shape someone or something against a brighter background
FEATURING (gerund) showing
IN FRONT OF (collocation) - be positioned forward of a person or thing
PASS BY  (collocation) - go past someone or something
TURN TO LOOK  (collocation) - turn one's head in the direction of something




Are you READY to describe pictures in English? All you have to do now is get your camera (or phone). Take some pictures and talk (or write) about them in English to someone. See if you can USE some of the vocabulary from this post. Share your pictures and descriptions in English with friends. Have fun!

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