A Week in Saskatchewan
Sep21

A Week in Saskatchewan

Every Canadian has their ideas of what Saskatchewan is. We all have our own pre-developed views of what it looks like, and what it feels like. But, very few actually give it the time it deserves for you to move past the stereotypes and truly start figuring out what Saskatchewan is all about. I’ll be honest. I was one of those people who had not given the province a chance. I’d seen parts of it. I’d seen the prairies. And, the rumours are true: it’s very flat. But, thanks to a week-long photography trip with Tourism Saskatchewan and my buddy Jeff Bartlett, I got the chance to dig a bit deeper into the province most assume is just 99% covered in wheat, and the other 1% in grain elevators. Grasslands National Park East Block If I’m being quite honest with you, I’d never even heard of Grasslands National Park. Obviously, I didn’t know that there was also an east block to it. Jeff and I made the mistake in not doing our hard research, too. When we got near the park, we realized there was no restaurant, grocery store, or even fuel station in or near the park. We had to make a massive detour to find food, and stocked up for the 3 days we’d be in the park. After a night of pretty beautiful skies, we set out on a bit of an adventure in the park. We headed out on a hike into a place called The Valley of 1000 Devils. This part of the park is home to some beautiful wild badlands that are relatively untouched. It’s beautiful in there, and there’s even quick sand – yes, it’s a real thing. That night, we wild camped in the badlands. And, yes, it was wild. Just as the sun was about to set, we got hammered by one of those epic prairie storms. We were soaked, destroyed, and cold. But, we trooped through it, as the light following the storm was amazing enough to make you forget that all your clothes are so wet they weight 20 pounds. Grasslands National Park West Block After our couple nights in the east block, we headed over to the West Block of Grasslands National Park. This part of the park is older than the other, and the infrastructure is better. But, there still wasn’t showers, or a restaurant. So, we were out in the wild for a bit longer. For me, the highlight of this park was the prairie dogs. There were hundreds upon hundreds of them scattered all over the fields, popping up curiously and constantly. There are...

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A Quick Guide to Photography in Iceland
Aug04

A Quick Guide to Photography in Iceland

Iceland is one of those places that’s just magic for photography.  It seems like everywhere you look the light is amazing and there’s something totally photo-worthy.  But the real beauty of photography in Iceland is that the weather and light changes so dramatically and quickly, that everyone experiences places completely differently.  Of course, that’s also the struggle.  It’s hard to properly prepare for Iceland as a photographer when the conditions are constantly switching up.  Thus, this is a bit of a guide to photography for Iceland. The Time of Year Iceland really is special anytime of year.  You can go in the summer for the long days, or the winter for the short days and those beautiful northern lights.  Really, it definitely depends on you.  Personally, I think June is the best month of the year to visit Iceland.  June is the month where the weather cooperates the most. Also, towards the end of the month you have those incredibly long days where the beautiful sunsets just seem to last forever.  If you want a bit more of an depth look at the best time of year to visit, check out this more general Iceland travel guide. The Gear Gear is always such a challenge, and choosing what equipment to take to Iceland is incredibly tricky.  That said, I think the general rule is to pack more than you think you’d need.  The other rule is to be prepared for weather.  Packing things like rain covers, lens wipes, and even silica packs to keep your gear dry is really important.  Other non-electronic gear you’ll want to bring are rain slicks, and if you’re hoping to get into some of the streams and waterfalls, you’ll want to bring hip-waiters. As for camera gear itself, I think you really want to be shooting two bodies in Iceland.  The reason is this: the weather is so nasty that you don’t want to be switching lenses out in the wild conditions.  I’d recommended a lens like a 16-35mm, and a long lens like a 70-200mm.  I really think that with just those two lenses you could probably shoot all of Iceland.  The last time I photographed the country I used these two exclusively and I never felt like I was missing something. Also, don’t forget the importance of a good tripod.  The winds in Iceland can be completely unforgiving.  If you don’t have a sturdy tripod, your camera could definitely take a tumble and get damaged. I’ve heard from a number of people who have broken gear in Iceland due to the high winds.  Don’t cheap out on your tripod.  Try something that’s...

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Best photo ops on the island of St. Lucia
Jun07

Best photo ops on the island of St. Lucia

St. Lucia is one of the Caribbean’s most spectacular islands when it comes to its scenery. From mountains and attractions that trace their origin to this place’s volcanic past, to its collection of paradise beaches, there are plenty of subjects to focus on here. Once you have booked your place using the following St Lucia holidays – Caribbean, plan your photographic itinerary slotting in the following points of interest on St. Lucia. The Pitons The remnants of two volcanic plugs that remained after the volcano that formed them eroded away, the twin peaks of Gros and Petit Piton are an iconic image of St. Lucia. Featured prominently in tourism literature and depicted on the label of its national beer, it is a scene that every photographer visiting the island will want to capture before heading home. A popular place to get a shot of these twin spires is from Hummingbird Beach, which will give you a beautiful foreground to contrast with the majesty of the Pitons in the background. Additionally, the main road between Castries and Soufriere has excellent sight lines – just be sure to pull well off the road before setting up your gear. Halcyon Beach The islands of the Caribbean are famous for having some of the most photogenic beaches in the world, and St. Lucia is no exception to this rule. While the previously mentioned Hummingbird Beach is a great place to kill two birds with one stone, those seeking straight up shots of a tropical paradise without having the Pitons in the background will find great subjects on Halcyon Beach. This place might be occupied by a resort, but know that all beaches in St. Lucia are open to the public by law. With white sand, droopy palms, and water that shimmers with multiple shades of blue and green, you’ll have plenty of things to shoot during your visit here. Sulphur Springs St. Lucia was formed through volcanic activity, and these forces continue to influence the island in the present day. The best example of this can be seen at Sulphur Springs, where the magma deep within the earth heats up sulphur-rich mud springs to temperatures that exceed 170 degrees Celsius (340 degrees Fahrenheit). The steam rising from the pools, the broken earth surrounding it, and the lush vegetation on its periphery can be challenging for amateurs to capture, but for skilled photogs, this attraction is a compelling subject. The baths nearby offer muck heated to a soothing 45 degrees Celsius (110 Fahrenheit), so don’t forget to pack your trunks! Pigeon Island Home to British forts that were used to keep an eye on the French stationed in nearby Martinique, Pigeon Island is a great place for those looking to do a history set...

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A Travel Photography Guide to Kotor, Montenegro
May18

A Travel Photography Guide to Kotor, Montenegro

When I mentioned Montenegro as a potential location to spend a couple weeks, my social medias exploded with people shouting a resounding “yes!”. In particular, they pushed me to go to Kotor, a small historic town settled into the southernmost fjord in Europe.  Within a minute of arriving, I understood why so many people were taken by this destination.  It’s absolutely spectacular. Though my travel schedule is generally pretty quick, I spent a full two weeks in Kotor to give myself enough time to shoot photography, relax a bit, and get some “office work” done on my computer.  Over those two weeks, I shot a half dozen or so locations, so I thought I’d put together a bit of a travel photography guide to Kotor.  Whether you’re hear for a week, or you’re just stopping off for a couple hours off the cruise ship, there should be ample options below for you to choose from. Saint John Cathedral A climb up towards the fortress is the most obvious place to look for the best views of Kotor. However, before you get to the fortress you’ll pass Saint John Cathedral which is about halfway to the top.  The cathedral makes for a great photo location.  It adds some scale to the city below it, and is great both on its own and as an element in a cityscape image of Kotor.  If found this to be a great spot for sunrise, but it also works at sunset. The Fortress After climbing past Saint John Cathedral, the walk up to the fortress will leave you with dozens of great locations for massive overviews of Kotor and the bay.  There’s no one particular place on the trail that’s significantly better than another, but just before you reach the fortress itself, there’s a bit of a platform/open area that is a great spot to set up a tripod. I think the views are better from just below the fortress rather than right on top of it.  It depends on the time of year and the angle of the light, but this is again a better sunrise location than sunset, although either work. Grass-roofed Church This was my favourite photography location in Kotor, and though I didn’t get good light when I was here, I got some decent photos.  I also go some pretty cool drone footage from here. Check out my vlog from the church for that footage. This is a great location for sunset in the summer because on a clear day the light will hit the peaks behind the church and you should get beautiful alpine glow.  I wasn’t so lucky, and...

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Where to Photograph Cappadocia, Turkey
Apr13

Where to Photograph Cappadocia, Turkey

I had a lot of trouble finding information on where to shoot photography in Cappadocia, Turkey.  Based on the fact that it’s such a popular place for photography, I found that really surprising.  As such, I went into my trip to Cappadocia really blind, as a photographer.  I caught myself guessing on locations, and wandering around a bit more than I usually do.  In the end, though, I found some great places to photograph the hot air balloons, and some of the beautiful landscapes.  This is a bit of a guide to photography in Cappadocia. #1: Panoramic View I took a wild guess that this would be the best place to photograph the hot air balloons in Cappadocia, and I was spot on.  The truth is, you could really photograph the hot air balloons from anywhere in the area around Goreme.  There are so many balloons up in the air each morning, I’m fairly sure there’s not a spot in the region that you couldn’t photograph them from.  However, this location is ideal for a number of reasons.  For one, you have the sun at your back.  Thus, the sunrise works to light up the balloon and gives you nice warm colours and an image that’s easy to properly expose.  Secondly, from here you can use the canyon for a beautiful foreground. Most of the other locations to photograph the hot air balloons aren’t nearly as pretty. #2 Rose Valley The Rose Valley is fantastic no matter what time of day you visit.  The light always seems magical, and there’s a lot to see and photograph. Moreover, there are non-landscape images to be made here as well.  One of the coolest aspects of this valley are the stone cave churches, all of which are fairly short hikes to get to. #3 Sunset Point True to the name, this spot right above the town of Goreme is great for sunset.  There are a lot of different shots you can get from up here.  You can shoot away from the city and get beautiful shots of the phallic-shaped stone pillars in the valley.  Or, you can photograph the cave-town itself. This is also a good place to photograph the hot air balloons at sunrise.  In fact, I’d say that the vast majority of other tourists I saw came here to see the balloons lift off.  There are advantages to this spot.  Firstly, you are much closer to the balloons than at the panoramic view point.  You are also surrounded by the balloons so you have a lot of different style of photos you can make.  Ideally, you’d have one morning here...

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