Simplify the Frame

I embrace simplicity in my images. For the most part, I enjoy simple frames that are free from clutter and what I think are distractions. There are many photographers, especially documentary photographers, that infuse themselves beautifully within a scene capturing every little detail as a means to help tell a story. My style is much simpler than that. However, is my environment free from clutter or what I view as possible distractions? Absolutely not! There are a few techniques I use which help me create simplicity within my images. Here are those tips: 

1. Shoot from above

Shooting from above, or bird’s eye view, is one of the easiest ways a photographer can simplify the frame. Top-down images can exclude a lot of external environment and can help isolate a detail or moment. The closer you are to your subject, the less context in the frame and the less potential for distractions.

ISO 1250, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/250SS

ISO 1250, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/250SS

2. Fill the frame

Filling the frame is similar to shooting from above. However, this concept is not about the angle in which you capture your subject; rather it's about moving close to and photographing only your subject. You want to fill your camera frame with only the intended subject. In these types of images, the background and environment are often excluded from the image. This is a beautiful way in which a photographer can isolate a single details within an image or create a stunning simple portrait.  

ISO 800, 105mm, f3, 1/3200SS

ISO 800, 105mm, f3, 1/3200SS

3. Pull your subject away from a background

The closer your subject is to a background, the more in focus your background will be, especially if you are not shooting at a wide aperture. Pulling your subject away from a background helps the details in a background blur more. This helps isolate your subject when focus is set to him or her and simplifies the frame.

ISO 800, 105,,m 2.8f, 1/2500SS

ISO 800, 105,,m 2.8f, 1/2500SS

4. Shoot with a wide aperture or freelens

For those who have a solid understanding of aperture and depth of field this point probably goes without saying; anytime a photographer chooses to use a large aperture the smaller the plane of focus. Images taken with a large aperture (2.8 or lower) will have more blur, which simplifies an image, as humans tend to ignore areas within an image that are not in focus. Images that are captured with a small aperture (f4 or higher) are likely to have more in focus within the frame, which often results in less simplicity.

When you freelens an image, there is a tiny slice of focus. This is also another good way in which to blur out potential background distractions and simplify a frame.

ISO 100, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/1000SS

ISO 100, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/1000SS

5. Use an object or creative effect to block a distraction

Composing your image in a way that blocks distractions is a fun exercise in observation and creativity. When composing your image, look around your scene to determine if there are elements you can use to hide potential distractions or use in a way that simplifies the frame.

In the image below, to the right of the frame, is my daughter’s closet. Her clothes and toys were visible in the frame until I used the bokeh from a handheld chandelier lampshade to cover those distractions.

ISO 1000, 35mm, 2.2f, 1/200SS

ISO 1000, 35mm, 2.2f, 1/200SS

6. Don’t be afraid to use post processing tools

Post-processing is powerful and can help a photographer execute their vision for an image. It's a good idea to become comfortable with the tools in image processing programs like Lightroom and Photoshop. The clone stamp tool is one of my favourite post-processing tools. This tool can help me eliminate potential distractions and simplify my image.

The image on the left is straight out of the camera. I didn’t love the tree on the left of my frame, as I found it pulled my eye away from my subject. So I decided to clone it out. This tweak resulted in a simpler image, in my opinion, with less distraction.

ISO 800, 105mm, 2.8f, 1/2000SS SOOC

ISO 800, 105mm, 2.8f, 1/2000SS SOOC

ISO 800, 105mm, 1/2000SS Edited

ISO 800, 105mm, 1/2000SS Edited

If simplicity is your style I highly recommend the above suggestions in order to eliminate possible distractions in your scenes. Give them a try! I’m certain you’ll find a favourite!

All is Quiet: What to Photograph when your Children are in School

Sadly, summer is over. My children returned to school this morning. As much as I know, a routine is good for everyone, I already miss my children and the unscheduled days of summer. With the return to school, I need to get myself settled into my own routine and attempt to find balance amongst my responsibilities. As I find this new balance, I know that photography will remain a constant in my everyday life. However, I also know that my time photographing my children's everyday moments will be limited due to the fact they are away at school all day and most days, after school, we will be rushing down a snack or dinner, before we taxi off to an extra curricular activity.

I'm sure my adoration for photography will never be extinguished. So when I'm unable to photograph my children's everyday moments here are some ways I can still pursue my passion.

1. Self portraiture

When my children are away at school, I try, on occasion, to capture a few self portraits. I think self portraiture is it’s a wonderful way to experiment with light and creative techniques. After all, I’m a willing subject. I don’t often share these images, but I create them as a gift to myself. I think self portraiture is an empowering and therapeutic experience, especially when the aim is to photograph or express yourself in a certain way.

When I attempt any self portraiture I always use a tripod. I shoot in manual mode so I dial in my settings and prefocus my camera before I jump into the scene. Typically, I do use a smaller aperture to allow for a larger depth of field or area of focus. I like f4 if my settings can support this aperture well. Focus can sometimes be tricky when capturing self portraits because it must set prior to you entering the scene. I like to set focus in the scene by placing an object, like a teddy bear, where I’ll be standing or sitting. I then remove that object prior to capturing the image. I also always use a self timer. You can use your camera’s internal timer but since I’m a landscape photographer I have a handy intervalometer that I use. I usually set the shutter release delay on my intervalometer to about 20 seconds which gives me time to start the timer remote then hop into the scene. I usually capture about 10-20 images at once slightly adjusting my pose between exposures in hope that at least one of these slight movements will result in an image I like and a final edit.

ISO 1600, 35mm, f2.2, 1/160SS

ISO 1600, 35mm, f2.2, 1/160SS

2. Try something new

Still life, styled flat lays, food, macro and street photography are all genres that I’m not particularly familiar with or good at. I think there’s a ton of freedom when you give yourself permission to try something new and make mistakes. I always find when I’m photographing genres I’m not particularly familiar with that I come away having learned something valuable. When your typical subjects aren’t available, it’s also an excellent time to practice photographing techniques you want to experiment with like a Lensbaby or Freelensing. You can also give yourself some post-processing leniency and think about trying new techniques or something out of the realm of your typical post-processing workflow.

ISO 1000, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/500SS

ISO 1000, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/500SS

3. Catch up on post processing

Raise your hand if you have hard drives filled with hoards of unedited images. I’m right there with you. I have so many unedited photos; it’s truly shameful! There are a million things to do in a day but when I have a moment, without my little subjects around to photograph, I really do enjoy taking the time to edit images that are waiting for post-processing love.

ISO 100, 26mm, f14, 120sec

ISO 100, 26mm, f14, 120sec

4. Focus on learning

Who has a ton of learning material stored up with a plan that one day you’ll read or watch it? Have you been meaning to read the latest post to The Photographer’s Notebook but just haven’t quite had the time? Between school drop off, grocery shopping, those hundreds of loads of laundry and career obligations there never seems to be enough time. However, I bet there are moments from time to time when you can prioritize your learning and take some time for you to grow as a photographer. There’s goodness waiting for you.

ISO 1000, 105mm, f4, 1/250SS

ISO 1000, 105mm, f4, 1/250SS

5. Take a break

As rewarding as photography is for me sometimes I can get in a FOMO (fear of missing out) head space when it comes to documenting my children’s lives. I know that giving myself permission to take a break from photography is healthy. Engaging in another activity that I’m interested in helps me from becoming bored and falling into a dreaded photography rut. Sometimes it’s nice to put away your camera and enjoy the gift of quiet or another favourite activity while your primary little subjects are away at school all day.

ISO 400, 200mm, 2.8f, 1/2000SS

ISO 400, 200mm, 2.8f, 1/2000SS

I’d love to hear what you enjoy photographing when your children are in school! Let me know in the comments below!

My 3 Favourite Landscape Photography Techniques

There are many different approaches a landscape photographer can take when capturing a single scene. This is, in my opinion, where much of the artistry in landscape photography is born. I’ve been asked before if I ever get bored of shooting the same scene over and over again, and my answer is always, “Absolutely not!” Weather conditions, light, and seasons change. Those changes add beautiful difference into a scene. However, a photographer does not necessarily need to wait for a different day to capture a scene differently, as it unfolds. There are three ways in which a photographer can capture a single scene that will yield a different look with different results.

In the below three images I’ve captured the same scene, the iconic Three Sisters in Canmore, Alberta, Canada. However, I used a different technique in each of these images, which resulted in different looks.

My three favourite landscape photography techniques when approaching scenes are:

1. Static or normal exposure

Static exposure is capturing a scene as it is. Typically, it is necessary to maintain a faster shutter speed in order to eliminate any possible water or cloud movement. It freezes the beauty of a moment in time. This is an excellent technique to use when there is dynamic cloud definition, or the scene is quiet and reflecting.

ISO 100, 18mm, f14, 0.5sec

ISO 100, 18mm, f14, 0.5sec

2. Long Exposure

A long exposure is a stunning technique with beautiful results. Longer exposures capture movement and infuse a pretty softness into moving clouds or water. It’s a technique that will often require a neutral density filter, such as a 6 or 10 stop filter. Capturing a long exposure is a good choice when there are a clouds moving through the sky. Long exposure is probably my favourite technique when I’m out capturing landscape scenes.

ISO 100, 19mm, f13, 270sec

ISO 100, 19mm, f13, 270sec

3. Night Exposure

Waiting after a sunset shoot until Astronomical Twilight is well worth it. Shooting at night quickly became an attractive technique when I started capturing landscape images. There’s spectacular beauty in the night sky. When everyone else is sleeping stars light up the sky and twinkle their magic down upon a scene. Most people don’t have the opportunity to see these incredible scenes at night. The camera also can pick up details in the night sky that the human eye is incapable of seeing. When photographing during the night you can try both a static and long exposure. A static night sky image will capture a breathtaking star-studded sky. A long exposure at night will capture gorgeous star trail movement creating a stunning and unique effect.

ISO 400, 16mm, f4, 481sec

ISO 400, 16mm, f4, 481sec

In each of the above scenes my subjects remain exactly the same however there is significant variety between the three scenes due to the choices I made in my exposure setting techniques. Next time you are out capturing a single landscape scene I encourage you to try capturing the scene in both a static and long exposure mode. Capturing a scene at night might take a little more effort but it is well worth the effort. The results are captivating.

People in Landscape: It's a Great Big World-The Sensational Summer Photography Series: Part 7

I’m incredibly passionate about landscape photography. Next to photographing my children, it’s my favourite genre of photography. So it’ll come as no surprise that capturing my children within a landscape is the perfect fusion for my photography style. There are a few things that should be considered when photographing people within a landscape scene. I want to share some of those tips with you.

1. Consider your lens choice

For the most part, a wider lens should be your choice when you want to capture a human subject within a landscape scene. This big perspective allows you to photograph your subject and the environment too. A wide-angle lens allows for a grande scale to be showcased and can result in a “little person in a big world” kind of feeling. My favourite lens choices when capturing my children within a landscape are my 35mm, 16-35mm, and my 14mm.

ISO 250, 35mm, f3.5, 1/500SS

ISO 250, 35mm, f3.5, 1/500SS

2. Consider your exposure triangle settings

When I capture landscape images, I, for the most part, always use a tripod. However, the use of a tripod is not an option when I’m capturing my children in a landscape. They are busy and move around in a scene, so I need mobility too and forgo my tripod. Since I’m not using a tripod, I need to use a faster shutter speed than I likely would if I was capturing only a landscape scene. I like to keep my shutter speed at 1/400 or even higher for my person in landscape images.

Also, I need to consider my aperture choice. I have a couple of options here. If I want to isolate my subject, I can choose to use a wider aperture and blur my background a bit so a choice of f4 or lower would work. However, if I want to ensure sharp focus throughout my entire image, then I will need to use a small aperture like f9 or higher.

If you are shooting in manual mode, don’t be afraid to set your aperture based on what you want in focus within your image, then set your shutter speed to eliminate any possible motion blur from wind through trees or grasses or a moving subject. To complete your exposure triangle, set your ISO last to balance out your exposure triangle.

I often find when I’m capturing a human within a landscape, I often underexpose my image to preserve the highlights within the scene, which are usually in the sky details. I can adjust the shadows in post-processing by bringing them up.

ISO 200, 35mm, f13, 1/320SS

ISO 200, 35mm, f13, 1/320SS

3. Consider your composition

Good composition is vital to a solid image, so this is something I always consider. In the image below, I purposefully composed the scene by considering the rule of thirds (ROT) when I placed my son along the 1/3 ROT line. I also chose to compose my image with my son in the left side of the frame, as this enhances a shared experience with a viewer. When the viewer’s eye lands on my son he or she will share in the experience of looking towards the boat in the distance and off into the sunset.

ISO 250, 35mm, f3.5, 1/1250SS

ISO 250, 35mm, f3.5, 1/1250SS

4. Consider mood

There’s always mood in a landscape image. Landscape moods are highly dependant on the type of light and weather at the time of the image. I think it’s important to consider how the mood within the landscape impacts the overall feeling within the image and how the person is captured within the scene. If you have a stormy landscape, it might seem out of place to have an energetic and playful child running through the scene. This type of behaviour is probably more cohesive with a bright and sunny scene. It is, however, worth experimenting a bit with humans in a landscape and mood because juxtaposition is a powerful thing.

ISO 400, 35mm, f16, 1/160SS

ISO 400, 35mm, f16, 1/160SS

5. Use post processing to enhance your vision

Post-processing is an incredibly powerful tool when it comes to infusing your vision into an image. Very often in post-processing I’m lifting shadows, lowering highlights, adding colour, tweaking clarity and contrast and fine-tuning my straight out of camera capture. Learning programs like Lightroom and Photoshop will help you enhance your images beautifully and artistically.

In the image below, I wanted to enhance the image in post-processing by adding more vibrancy than in the SOOC. I think the enhanced colour increases the mood as my subject looks off into the dramatic sky while the waves crash into the shore.

ISO 100, 35mm, f3.5, 1/2000SS SOOC

ISO 100, 35mm, f3.5, 1/2000SS SOOC

ISO 100, 35mm, f3.5, 1/2000SS Edited

ISO 100, 35mm, f3.5, 1/2000SS Edited

This concludes The Sensational Summer Photography Series! Thank you for incorporating my concepts into your summer photo memories!

Summer Details: Think Small-The Sensational Summer Series: Part 6

Summer details are the best! It’s time for dirty knees, sandy faces, bugs, flowers and all things tiny! Don’t forget to capture these beautiful memories! Little fingers are so good at discovering the mini world around us and I enjoy photographing it all.

1. Use the right settings

Summer details can be captured with any lens but one lesson of importance is specific to aperture and its relationship to depth of field or what is in focus within an image when shooting macro. The mini world is very tiny and you’ll likely be shooting at close range when capturing details. It’s important to remember that the wider the aperture the shallower your depth of field will be. Furthermore, the closer you are to your subject the shallower the depth of field. If you are shooting wide open and very close to your mini subject your focal plane will be very narrow. This is something to be aware of when capturing details so that your subject remains in focus. Typically, I choose to close down my aperture when I’m shooting details.

A super handy tool in these situations is a Depth of Field (DOF) Calculator. Many free DOF calculator applications can be downloaded right to your phone. DOF calculators allow you to input your camera settings and then will tell you how small or large your focal plane will be. This will help you ensure what you want in focus is actually in focus.

Another tip when it comes to settings is to simply be aware of your camera’s limitations when it comes to minimum focus distance. The minimum focus distance is the minimum distance you need to be away from your subject for your lens to achieve focus. If you are too close your lens will not focus on your intended subject. Sometimes it’s also helpful to shoot in manual focus if your camera is struggling or hunting for focus with a subject at close range.

ISO 200, 140mm, 3.5f, 1/500SS

ISO 200, 140mm, 3.5f, 1/500SS

2. Change up your perspective

Perspective is truly a powerful tool when it comes to composition. Remember to capture the mini world from a variety of perspectives. Try photographing your subject from straight on, from above, what about from underneath? Try super close or farther away. This not only adds variety but can infuse a ton of fun creativity and uniqueness into your captures. I’ve seen some really fun and creative looks of the mini world that incorporate fun tools like a magnify glass too.

ISO 100, 35mm, 3.2f, 1/250SS

ISO 100, 35mm, 3.2f, 1/250SS

3. Always consider light

A common theme in photography is the importance of ensuring the light quality within your image is good. There’s no exception to this rule when it comes to photographing the mini world. When I’m photographing something small I like to ensure that my tiny subject is in good light.

ISO 250, 105mm, 3.2f, 1/800SS

ISO 250, 105mm, 3.2f, 1/800SS

Enjoy capturing all things small!

Next week we move from the micro world into discussion about the grande world! Next week also concludes The Sensational Summer Series so be sure to check in so you don’t miss out on tips about how to go about capturing your subject within landscapes!

Summer Weather: Tips for Photographing Sunny through Stormy-The Sensational Summer Photography Series: Part 5

Summer is filled with outdoor adventures and with the outdoors comes weather. I absolutely love incorporating elements of weather into my summer images. A photographer has no control over the weather but we can make the most of what nature sends our way when we embrace all weather conditions.

Here are a few of my favourite weather conditions and tips for capturing them.

1. Incoming storms

Stormy weather is one of my favourite weather phenomenons. I adore drama in the sky! When I’m out capturing images of my children in storms I am cautious about weather turning quickly. Being aware is important during stormy weather. If it’s safe to be outside I will capture a quick image or two but we usually stay fairly close to shelter for comfort and safety reasons. When I’m photographing dynamic weather scenes I often like to underexpose my scene in order to maintain detail in the highlights, which are usually in the sky.

ISO 200, 16mm, f9, 1/500SS

ISO 200, 16mm, f9, 1/500SS

2. Overcast and rainy

Don’t let a rainy day keep you inside! Exploring in the rain and capturing rainy day images can be fun too, as long as you are prepared! When I’m out capturing rainy day images I always make sure I travel light and with a waterproof bag to store my camera in when I’m not using it. I also always pack and use a rain sleeve. Rain sleeves are the absolute best gear accessory in inclement weather. They are affordable and really easy to use. I also like to carry an umbrella with me to cover myself and my gear. Yes, it can be a little awkward holding an umbrella in one hand and my camera in the other but as long as I’m not using heavy lenses I can easily still capture my children without getting myself drenched! I also like to carry a small towel with me. This serves to dry off any rain drops that happen to land on my lens in addition to dry off my camera, if necessary. Keep an eye out in all directions because if the rain is only a passing storm you may be able to capture a rainbow as it emerges when the sun comes back out!

ISO 200, 16mm, f4, 1/6400SS

ISO 200, 16mm, f4, 1/6400SS

3. Fog or smoke

Where I live we don’t get a lot of fog however unfortunately during the summer months we can get smoke from forest fires. Smoke presents similar to fog in that it creates a flat light situation. Due to the fact that the sky is typically not all that dynamic in these weather situations I tend to compose my images in a way that places emphasis on foreground elements as opposed to the view. I also like to shoot colourful scenes in this type of weather with brightly coloured subjects as I think this adds some interest into a foggy or smoky image.

ISO 200, 35mm, f4, 800SS

ISO 200, 35mm, f4, 800SS

4. Full sun

Adventures happen all summer long and we are going to be playing in full sun. I have several posts on The Photographer’s Notebook dedicated to managing full sun situations. In the image below I waited until a cloud had passed over the sun, which diffused the bright light before I captured the image. This is a great way in which to manage full sun situations. Another tip here is to underexpose your image a bit in order to retain detail in the sky. You can lift your shadows in post processing and bring them back but straight out of camera your sky will be preserved because of the underexposure.

ISO 200, 16mm, f10, 1/250SS

ISO 200, 16mm, f10, 1/250SS

You can find My Three Best Tips for Managing Full Sun here. Don’t let those summer memories pass you by! Beautiful photographs can be created in all types of weather. In fact I think incorporating the element of weather can add emotion and interest into an image which strengthens the storytelling within the frame.

Next week is all about those little summer details in Part 6 of The Sensational Summer Photography Series! Talk to you then!

Summer Adventures: Capturing the Memories-The Sensational Summer Photography Series: Part 4

Now, this is what summer is all about for my family! Adventuring! Summer exploring gives me all the warm and fuzzy feelings and taking my camera with me while out and about on summer explorations is an absolute must! I want to ensure that I document all the beautiful summer memories that we’ll be making. I also find I’m incredibly inspired when immersed in a new and unfamiliar environment, and this sparks my creativity.

Here are a few tips when it comes to traveling or taking your photography on the road with you this summer.

1. Pack Light

I tend to want all the things and all the images, but that is entirely unrealistic when out adventuring. My favourite family adventure, during the summer months, is hiking. Our hiking playground is the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Lucky us, right? I sure think so! There are some smaller hikes, but we tend to be relatively adventurous, and often walk longer distances with a fair amount of elevation through the forest and alpine conditions. There is no way I can take a lot of camera gear without being uncomfortable, so I pack as light as possible. For me, this means taking my smallest camera body and a light lens. I usually find my 35mm works best as it is most versatile when it comes to capturing big scenes but it also works for details too.

ISO 500, 35mm, 2.2f, 1/800SS

ISO 500, 35mm, 2.2f, 1/800SS

2. Find Balance

As I mentioned, I want to photograph all the things all the time, but again, this is not possible. I think my family would run off without me! LOL! I need to take a break from my camera and my children most certainly need a break as well. When I’m out capturing memories, I try to capture a few solid frames and then focus on enjoying the moments.

ISO 640, 35mm, f4, 1/250SS

ISO 640, 35mm, f4, 1/250SS

3. Capture images in all types of light

Summer fun happens from sunrise to sunset. Don’t shy away from light conditions that are out of your comfort zone. If you make an effort to capture your summer in all kinds of light, you will undoubtedly learn more about light and grow as a photographer in your skill and comfort level. Try full sun, open shade, dappled light and overcast light. Don’t be afraid to embrace the light you have in order to create your summer memories. Every image does not have to be portfolio worthy.

ISO 100, 35mm, f1.8, 1/320SS

ISO 100, 35mm, f1.8, 1/320SS

4. Think creatively

We spend a lot of time at a mountain beach during the summertime. My children play for hours and hours, and so do I! I try new things, and I experiment. Sometimes those experiments work and fit into my style of photography, and sometimes they don’t. The beauty in trying something new and thinking creatively is both freeing and educational. I find I always learn something when I’m pushing the boundaries within my photography. I think summer is the perfect opportunity to try new things!

ISO 100, 50mm, 2.8f, 1/3200SS

ISO 100, 50mm, 2.8f, 1/3200SS

5. Capture something you normally would not

Perhaps you’ve always been interesting in landscape photography or maybe macro? Perhaps you’ve wanted to try freelensing or rent a Lensbaby. Step outside your comfort zone and into exploring during the summertime. Make an effort to try capture something different or try a new technique that you’re not comfortable with! I am in no way a macro photographer, but I do like to capture a few images of the tiny summer world from time to time. There’s an incredible amount of freedom and learning in trying something new and allowing yourself to make mistakes and learn new skills.

ISO 800, 105mm, 4.2f, 1/250SS

ISO 800, 105mm, 4.2f, 1/250SS

Enjoy all your summer adventures and remember these tips when you’re out and about! Be sure to pack light, enjoy your summer moments by putting your camera down from time to time, take images in all types of light, play around with creativity and take some risks!

Next week is Part 5 of The Sensational Summer Photography Series! I’ll be sharing tips on how to incorporate weather into your summer captures!

Summer Food-The Sensational Summer Photography Series: Part 3

Summer fun comes in all forms, from play, through adventure, through delicious and mouthwatering treats, snacks, and meals. Only recently have I begun to incorporate food as a theme into my summer captures and I wish I had started capturing the deliciousness of summer earlier. I adore those childhood moments when a watermelon slice becomes a smile, the sticky melt from a popsicle runs down a little arm, or little fingers squish together a s’more, oozing out all that marshmallow and chocolate goodness.

Here is some inspiration and tips for you as you go about capturing all the delicious food goodness that comes with summer living!

1. Be ready

At my house, summer treats either melt very fast, are ferociously devoured at an incredible rate of speed, or both! When I want to photograph my children and food, I make sure I’m prepared. I always have a plan on how I want to capture the scene before I even pass over that watermelon slice. With my settings already dialed in and my camera in one hand, I only then release that snack into those little hands and wide as saucer eyes. I know I won’t have long to capture what I want, so I work fast, and being prepared and ready helps with this.

ISO 100, 35mm, 3.2f, 1/1000SS

ISO 100, 35mm, 3.2f, 1/1000SS

2. Try different perspectives

This summer, I know I'm going to work on mixing up my perspectives when photographing my children and their food moments! Food is food. Sometimes one watermelon looks like the next to me, as does one popsicle. To add variety, I need to change up my perspectives. Try photographing food straight on, from above, from below, up close and from far away. This variance in view will add uniqueness into your summer food images while capturing those childhood summer memories you don't want to miss.

ISO 400, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/500SS

ISO 400, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/500SS

3. Focus on the food

How about making food the focus of the image? The talented @this_chaotic_life created the stunning image featured below, and it is a perfect example of making food the focus in an image. In this featured image, @this_chaotic_life has used a shallow depth of field. This perfectly isolates the ice cream cone. The gorgeous flare frames the cone nicely, and the creativity in the flare draws beautiful attention to the sweet treat and all the precious drippy details.

You can find Meredith and more of her creative work on Instagram @this_chaotic_life.

ISO 80, 50mm, 1.8f, 1/400SS

ISO 80, 50mm, 1.8f, 1/400SS

4. Focus on the activity

We camp in our trailer almost all summer long so hot dogs over the fire, marshmallow roasts and picnics are commonplace for my family. This summer, I want to capture these events often because as commonplace as they are, they hold wonderful memories of family time fun.

ISO 800, 35mm, 3.2f, 1/400SS

ISO 800, 35mm, 3.2f, 1/400SS

Incorporating food into your summer-themed images is a delicious and fun way in which you can document your summer memories. When photographing your summer food memories be ready with your camera before that snack is up for grabs. Also, don't be afraid to incorporate different perspectives and angles while capturing food moments.

Enjoy the deliciousness of summer! Be sure to tag #thephotographersnotebook on Instagram too!

Next week I'm sharing tips on how you can best capture your summer adventures! You won't want to miss Part 4 of The Sensational Summer Photography Series! Talk to you then!

A Stunning Combination: Water and Your Camera-The Sensational Summer Photography Series: Part 2

In last week’s post I discussed 6 Fun Elements to use in your Summer Images. As part of The Sensational Summer Photography Series I’m going to dive deeper into each topic and provide inspiration and a few tips on how you can go about capturing these specific elements.

Since it’s summer up here in the Northern Hemisphere I know we are all welcoming the glorious warmth of the sunshine but sometimes that heat is in need of a little taming. The cool refreshing touch of water sounds like the perfect way to cool off those hot summer days. I’m always really cautious about my camera gear around water. Who wouldn’t be, right? Cameras and water don’t really mix well…or do they? Seems to me like so many rules in photography are meant to be broken and this is certainly one of them. So rule breakers, here’s some advice when it comes to incorporating water into your photography this summer!

1. Protect your gear

There are many different options out there when it comes to water and photography. Most of my images taken in and around water are while I’m at a beach, lake, river and in and around sprinklers. I don’t have access to a pool all that often so I haven’t had the opportunity to be exposed to a lot of submersion photography. Regardless, protecting your gear or having a camera system that is underwater friendly is a necessity when shooting in and around water.

There are a couple of ways I protect my camera gear when mixing the element of water into my images. If my camera is poolside or sprinkler side and there’s the risk that a small splash or a few droplets might come flying my way I simply protect my gear with a rain sleeve. These sleeves are readily available and are inexpensive. I highly recommend them. In situations where there’s the potential for a lot more water exposure or when we are going to the beach where I’m bound to encounter sand I use my DiCAPac. This bag provides excellent protection for my camera from both water and sand. I must test the bag prior to each use and look for leaks and it is a bit cumbersome when it comes to changing my camera settings when my camera is inside the bag but overall this bag works really well for the types of water images I’m shooting in.

ISO 200, 35mm, 5.6f, 1/3200SS

ISO 200, 35mm, 5.6f, 1/3200SS

2. Split View or Submerge

As I mentioned I haven’t had a lot of opportunity for full submersion water photography but when I’m brave enough to venture into a cold river or lake I like to play around with split view images. In these types of captures my bagged camera is only half submerged. When the water is clear I get a fun underwater view and can capture my subject above the water too! This is such a fun technique to experiment with!

ISO 100, 50mm, 3.2f, 1/1000SS

ISO 100, 50mm, 3.2f, 1/1000SS

3. Give me all the water bokeh

Who else here has a bokeh addiction? I know you’re out there! If you love bokeh then you my friend are meant to be one with your camera and water! As mentioned, my bodies of water are not warm. They are glacial cold even on the hottest of summer days. However, my slight obsession with water bokeh sparkle has me jumping right into that frozen water! I’ve found that the best water bokeh is created when light is hitting the water and when water is moving, so a splash, rushing river, sprinkler or even a water gun will give you bokeh delicious images. When the water droplets are in motion they catch the sunlight creating that bokeh you crave or soon will be craving once you give it a try!

ISO 200, 50mm, 2.8f, 1/2000SS

ISO 200, 50mm, 2.8f, 1/2000SS

4. Reflections

Next to bokeh, reflections are another favourite element to capture when I am around water. Your subject doesn’t even need to be in the water. Angles are everything here and it’s a really good idea to move around the scene to determine how you can best incorporate or capture a reflection. Static water reflects the best and provides beautiful crisp reflections. Also, if you happen to be at a beach, wet sand reflects in a beautiful way as well. Keep an eye out for those reflections as you capture your summer in and around the water this summer.

ISO 200, 105mm, 3.2f, 1/800SS

ISO 200, 105mm, 3.2f, 1/800SS

This summer don’t be afraid to use the element of water in your captures! I think water and photography result in some stunning summer captures! The current theme at The Photographer’s Notebook on Instagram is #tpn_water until July 22, 2019! I look forward to seeing how you’re using water in your own summer captures!

Part 3 in The Sensational Summer Photography Series is next week! I talk about how to incorporate food in your summer images! Talk to you then!

6 Fun Elements to use in your Summer Images-The Sensational Summer Photography Series: Part 1

I’m really excited about the summer! Up here in Canada, we finish up school a little later than most of our friends in the United States, so we have only just started to settle into our summer routine of outdoor play and adventures.

I know I’m super excited to start photographing all things summer! As a means to inspire and provide you with tips on how you can go about capturing your summer memories, I’ve created The Sensational Summer Photography Series which I’ll be sharing with your over the next seven weeks! This week, to begin this series, I’m sharing my favourite fun elements to incorporate into my summer images!

1. Water

Water and summer are a perfect pair. With the hot days of summer who wouldn’t want to cool off with a little water? I really enjoy experimenting around water and take my camera with me to the river and beach all summer long. If you’re not around natural bodies of water there is lots of fun to be had around pools and sprinklers too.

ISO 100, 50mm, 3.2f, 1/1250SS

ISO 100, 50mm, 3.2f, 1/1250SS

2. Food

Good food and summer go hand in hand.  There are so many opportunities to incorporate food images with a summer theme.  Messy, gooey and sticky faces and fingers are always enjoyable signs of summer.  BBQ meals, ice cream cones, popsicles, watermelon, marshmallow roasts, strawberry fields, to name only a small few, are all moments that can be photographed and incorporated into your summer captures.

ISO 400, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/500SS

ISO 400, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/500SS

3. Adventures

My number one reason for my love of the summer months is the ability to be outdoors. We spend a significant amount of time out exploring the Canadian Rocky Mountains during the summer. I love capturing my children when we are out hiking, biking, and adventuring in the Rockies. I feel very inspired by the beauty within the outdoors, and I enjoy capturing our everyday outdoor summer adventures.

ISO 500, 35mm, f9, 1/1000SS

ISO 500, 35mm, f9, 1/1000SS

4. Weather

Summer weather is spectacular! From the hot sun to wild summer storms, I enjoy capturing it all. When the weather puts on a show, I most certainly grab my camera.

ISO 200, 35mm, f5, 1/320SS

ISO 200, 35mm, f5, 1/320SS

5. Details

I know I say this a lot, but details really are the best and summer details are no exception. I want to remember the dirty knees, the sandy faces, the frog that brought the biggest of smiles to my children’s faces, the tiny bugs, and muddy fingers. Attached to these details are beautiful memories that I never want to forget.

ISO 1000, 35mm, 3.2f, 1/250SS

ISO 1000, 35mm, 3.2f, 1/250SS

6. Landscapes

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you know I’m incredibly passionate about landscape photography so you’ll find it no surprise that I enjoy capturing my children while immersed in a beautiful landscape.

ISO 100, 105mm, 2.8, 1/4000SS

ISO 100, 105mm, 2.8, 1/4000SS

Be sure to stay tuned friends! Next week I offer my best tips on how to capture images in and around the water during the summer months as part of The Sensational Summer Photography Series!

Happy summer friends! I’m thoroughly enjoying all the incredible summer images being tagged to #thephotographersnotebook so far this summer!