The Photographer's Notebook





5 Important Tips for Creating Stronger Landscape Images

Landscape photography is not for the faint of heart. Us landscape photographers rise before the earliest of birds begin to sing their morning songs. We skip meals and ignore hunger and fatigue. We hike through forests and fields, hoping that the animal tracks in the snow are not fresh or that the howling wolf pack is farther away than they sound or that the bear frequenting the area signs are old news and he's actually up over the other side of the mountain. We haul heavy gear and wear layers of clothing through weather elements most would remain inside for. We wade through streams and hop into rivers to achieve the perfect composition for sunset. We stay up way past reasonable hours to witness night skies and drive home in dense fog and enveloping darkness. But we love every single moment of this passion. 

With all of the efforts we put into getting to a location and with all of the other unknown elements at play like weather and light, us landscape...

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How to Approach your Photography Amid a Pandemic

It's tough right now. Uncertainties and unknowns are flooding my mind, and I feel, at times, as if they are choking away all things positive. While I've been isolated in the bubble of my home, there's a selfish part of me that wants to and has complained. I've grumbled about my office space being taken over by my husband, who must work from home. I've griped about my now lack of computer access. I've missed the previous quiet of my days when I could focus solely on my goals but instead are now occupied by my children's needs. It's easy to let all the things that are happening and all the unknowns overwhelm. I know, however, that this type of thought pattern is not healthy for me on a physical or mental level. Years of living with anxiety have taught me that when I'm triggered by events beyond my control that I need to choose to accept the things I cannot change. I've learnt that I need to look for positivity. Looking for positivity doesn't negate the fact that...

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How to Photograph in the Rain

Spring is in the air! I know that spring is already in bloom for some while others like us up North still have a while longer to wait despite what the calendar tells us. Soon, though, for all of us, snow flurries will turn into rain, and cold winds will begin to shift towards slight warmth. Those gentle raindrops are sure to be welcomed by the new blooms of spring, but can we photographers welcome a rainy day too? I certainly think so! The element of rain can be fun to infuse into spring images. Here are some tips for you about how you can go about capturing gorgeous photos between the raindrops!

1. Protect your camera

It's crucial to protect your camera from the rain. I enjoy embracing the elements and atmosphere that come along with weather, but I always ensure I protect my gear. Rain sleeves are a fantastic solution when you purposefully or accidentally get caught in the rain. So keep one tucked away inside your camera bag for such occasions. I recommend...

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How to Capture Beautiful Images In-Between Seasons

Spring hasn't officially arrived quite yet, and it'll still be some time before spring starts blooming up North here in Canada. This in-between season's stage we're in right now is not really all that pretty. There's half-melted snow piles and mud puddles galore. There's squelch and dead all over the forests. All that yuck and muck isn't attractive, but I still have this desire to capture beautiful images, so how do I go about my photography even when it's unsightly? Today I'm sharing with you some ideas about how you can still capture the beauty in your life, within your images, during the in-between seasons. 

1. Crop out the unsightly 

Compose your pictures in a way that crops out what is unattractive. This might mean cropping in on your subject to avoid dirty and melting snow piles. Try and shoot through something pretty, like the branches of an evergreen tree. Or use a telephoto lens so that you have less environment in your image. 

ISO 400, 130mm,...
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Seven Tips to Create Stunning Flat-lays in Ten Minutes

This week I'm thrilled to feature photographer Nadeen Flynn. Nadeen is a talented multi-genre photographer. Today, Nadeen is sharing tips on how to create stunning flat lays and if you haven't seen her photography before today prepare to be in awe and inspired!

"Thank you for sharing your talents with us Nadeen!"

How many of you have gotten 'the hand' from your kids when you tried to photograph them? Or maybe it was the 'photographer's child' look. If your kids (this includes fur babies) are not cooperative, but you want to shoot and document your days, what do you do? Because we are all busy, I have some simple tips for quick flat-lay setups for you. And, what a great way to still document life, yours and theirs. Here are seven basic tips to get you started with making a flat-lay image in just ten minutes.

1. Light

It's always about light, isn't it? My favorite light for still life is window light. Look around your home and find a window with some nice indirect light. A...

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5 Reasons to Use a Telephoto in your Landscape Photography

Do you haul around your heavy telephoto lens in your photography backpack but rarely take it out? I'm hanging my head in shame because my answer is, "Yes." I'm notorious for rarely taking out my telephoto, and this is something I must change. A resolution, per se, even though we're well into February. As the temperatures begin to warm and we all begin to spend a little more time outdoors exploring all the beauty nature has to offer, I'm sure you're embracing your opportunities for landscape photography. Instead of keeping that telephoto lens tucked inside your backpack, adopt the following reasons for why you should take it out and use it in your landscape images.  

1. Isolate your subject

Telephoto lenses are fantastic for isolating a subject. When zoomed in using a telephoto, you can crop out large areas of detail, which will isolate a single subject. The composition of your image is vital in such a situation, though. Think about how you can draw attention...

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Finding and Photographing Creative Indoor Shadows

It's finally happening! The daylight has begun to increase noticeably. Winter up here in the North will stick around until at least April and maybe beyond, but I'm happy to see a significant brightening in the light within my home. I thoroughly enjoy exploring this return in light, and I find my creativity is rejuvenated with the light. I like to think about how I can use the newly returned light and shadow in fun and creative ways. Here are a few ideas about how you can use light and shadow in your images.

1. Look for shadows from windows

Window shadows are some of my favourite ways in which to use light and shadow creatively. Watch for light and shadow during different times of the day as the sun enters your home. Think about how you can use this light and infuse this often creative light and shadow into your images.

There are many different ways in which you can use the same light source and window in your images and create different looks. Try backlighting, side lighting...

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6 Ways to Boost Creativity and Avoid a Rut

This time of year is tough for me. Outdoors it's still wintering with bitter chilly winds that I'm tired of enduring. Indoors, the light is getting more plentiful, but it isn't quite as cheery and bright as I'd like. Predictably, I find myself falling into a bit of a rut this time of year. So I thought I'd brainstorm some ways for me and maybe you too, to feel less rut-like and more inspired to photograph all the beautiful everyday moments. 

1. Just have fun

Rut equals blah. I find that sometimes I need to do the opposite of what I'm feeling to force myself out of a mood. Kick that negative self-fulfilling prophecy in the behind and jump into a more positive frame of mind. For me, the opposite of blah is energy. My children, even though they are getting older, still love to be silly. So let's bring on the silliness and laughter. Activities like jumping on the bed or couch, building a fort out of pillows, or even a trip to the park are bound to spark energy and fun...

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How to Photograph a Landscape with Impact

It's no secret that I have a profound love for landscape photography. The mountains are apart of who I am today. Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, I have spent many summers in the Canadian Rocky Mountains with my camera in my hand. It's no surprise that as a landscape photographer, my very favourite scenes contain images with the beloved mountain ranges I grew up in, continue to share with my children, and enjoy to this day. 

Viewing the mountains through the eyes of a landscape photographer is a powerful thing, and I've come to recognize that there are a few key ingredients to photographing a landscape with impact. I want to share these tips with you so that you can make the most of your landscape photography opportunities. It may not be mountain scenes that you most often capture, but being aware of these key ingredients will help you photograph more impactful landscape images. 

1. Light 

It's also no secret that I adore light both as a mom...

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How to make Valentine's Day Heart Bokeh Overlays

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! Love, hearts and sparkly bokeh are in the air! In this week’s article, I’m sharing steps for how to create your own Valentine’s Day heart bokeh overlays. It’s a fun and creative technique that is photographed separately then infused into your images by way of an overlay. Let's get creative and have some Valentine’s Day fun!

1. Preparation

Gather up your supplies! Here’s a list of what you’ll need to create your heart bokeh overlays.

  • Camera and lens hood
  • Black construction paper or card stock
  • Scissors
  • Heart-shaped hole punch (optional)
  • Tape
  • A string of fairy or Christmas tree lights (not LED)
  • A black backdrop (You can use a black trifold or a black blanket)
  • Photoshop

ISO 640 35mm f2.8, 1/200SS

2. Cut out your hearts

It's time to create your heart-shaped lens covers! Detach your lens hood from your lens (if it’s attached) and draw a circle on the black construction paper or cardstock....

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