Showing posts from July 13, 2014

How to Photograph a Night Sky

There is nothing quite like a beautiful starry night in the country. The display of twinkling lights against a pitch black backdrop is a gentle spectacle, one enjoyed on many a quiet evening at the cottage, around a campfire or by a tent. Living in a small town in a rural community,  while I've always appreciated the stars, I have taken their presence for granted.  I know, that on any clear summer evening, if I like I can lie back on my lounger and gaze up to the universe and see a bevy of stars, like suspended diamonds sparkling in a sea of black.  What I didn't know, until a visit from a guest some years ago, is that not everyone is so blessed. It was one of those calm evenings when our daughter came home from the big city, bringing her then boyfriend, a slicker born and raised, who had never before ventured beyond the cosmopolitan limits.  Sitting in our backyard by the campfire, while others conversed, he sat, head back and staring, quite literally starstuck.   I coul

Tips for Taking Better Campfire Pictures

Besides being the nicest season for living in, as far as I'm concerned, summer undoubtedly presents some great subjects for photography.  Rather than the stark, monochromatic palette of winter, the world teems with colour as flowers bloom and life emerges. Fluorescent hummingbirds hover while sipping nectar from gorgeous blossoms. Ruby-red cardinals and brilliant orioles stand out against a background of verdant leaves.  Rippling streams bubble over stones, waterfalls cascade between lush greenery. Forests are a cornucopia of  flora and fauna. While nature can always be counted on to provide fodder for photographers, one can find a snowdrop or blue jay in winter, after all, summer also provides many unique opportunities for getting fun summer pictures.  Fireworks,  building sandcastles on the beach or hanging out at a baseball game are most definitely camera-worthy events. There is one other social summer ritual, however, that can be a bit of a challenge to capture.  The ne

How to Take Great Fireworks Photos

Two of the biggest celebrations of the summer for North American people are over. Canadians celebrated the anniversary of Confederation on July 1 and the Americans marked their independence from Great Britain on July 4. Neither of these occasions would be complete without fireworks, whether they happened in public parks or private backyards. These brilliant displays of light and colour aren't exclusive to those holidays, however. Really no other excuse is required than the fact that it's summer. Warm evenings encourage outdoor fun, including impromptu gatherings where campfires burn and socializing begins.  Throwing fireworks into the mix makes any of these nights celebratory. When our daughter married up north several years ago, friends surprised them with a fireworks display. Gliding out across the glorious French River on a pontoon boat they lit up the sky, while guests back at the lodge grabbed cameras to try and photograph the impressive spectacle. Not surprisingly,

Tips for Taking Photos in Low Light

If there is an interest for me beyond home and family, it would be photography. That said, I've never pretended to know a lot about it. Getting a great picture is usually  a result of a bit of a good eye and a lot of good luck. It's not like I had someone lay the groundwork for a passion in photography either. The first camera from my earliest childhood was Mom and Dad's old Brownie. They rarely had time to use it; photos were generally limited to special occasions and vacations when we'd be lined up before the tree or on the beach, and with a quick snap the moment was saved for posterity. Looking back at those nostalgic treasures it's easy to see that technique and detail were not given much, if any, consideration. It was all about capturing a memory. Given that I grew up in the age of Polaroids and little Instamatics, grainy black and whites and poor colour, it's a wonder I even know what a good picture is.  But when my future brother-in-law arrived on t

Tips for Taking Photos in the Rain

I'm not sure when I started feeling this way,  but when the skies are dull and grey, when they threaten to shed a few tears, I become a bit of princess. There's nothing like a downpour to make me run and hide. I wasn't always this way. I used to love a stroll in the rain.  Even getting caught in a deluge was kind of fun.  Obviously as a child, there was no greater adventure than standing stranded as the rain clouds opened up,  bathing me in warm sprinkles, and laying a playground of puddles at my feet.  Reaching my teens, though less likely to see that playful potential in a rainfall,  I nonetheless sensed something carefree about standing in it.  And then I grew up I guess, when having clothes soaked and carefully-coiffed tresses ruined stopped being amusing. Despite this recent aversion, though,  I do still recall times as an adult when I felt how refreshing it was to stand under nature's shower, how cleansing and hedonistic it was. Rain can also provide some