My Story….Endometriosis

On March 8, 2022 I had surgery to remove my uterus and was also diagnosed with endometriosis. To get to this point I had to see 3 different gynecologist, this is my story….

In late 2018 I started to have a lot more issues with my period. I was sadly used to painful periods as I have had them ever since I was a teenager but this time it was accompanied by a lot more symptoms including heavy flows and blood clots. 

In early 2019 I paid a visit to my GP and she recommend that I have a pelvic ultrasound to make sure that there wasn’t any fibroids as I have a family history of them. Keep in mind this was before the pandemic and I still had to wait 7 months, I was even on a cancellation list. For those that haven’t had a pelvic ultrasound they start by doing the ultrasound on the lower portion of your abdomen. After that they do an internal ultrasound that will give the doctor a better understand of what could be happening. Picture a long and I mean long wand wrapped in a condom and covered in lub. The one thing that they don’t tell you is that endometriosis does not show on the ultrasounds. 

I head to my doctor’s to get the results of the ultrasound as something was found. My doctor tells me the results. I have congested pelvic veins and she doesn’t know why. She decided to send me to a gynecologist to find out the reason why. By the time I receive these test results and get the referral to the gynecologist my symptoms have gotten worse. Painful heavy periods but the worse part was the migraines and next level fatigue that accompanied those symptoms. I couldn’t make it though a work day without wanting to take a nap. My energy to do anything was at an all time low and I spent most of my free time on the couch. I felt mostly normal only 1 week out of the month. 

I had high hopes that the gynecologist would be able to help me get rid of my symptoms. I also went in with questions of my own. By this point I was seriously thinking it might be best to have a hysterectomy. 

Lets just say that those hopes were dashed after spending 5 minutes talking to the doctor. After I explained my symptoms to her, so told me her treatment plan. That was to put me on a newer hormone that was designed to help patients with endometriosis, keep in mind that at this point I wasn’t diagnosed with endometriosis. This was a shot in the dark diagnoses with no proof that I actually had it. I asked if removing the uterus was an option if the hormones didn’t work. She told me that she would just put me on strong hormones. Which is not something that I had wanted to do. I had also mentioned to her that at this point in my life I was in my mind too old to have kids. Something that I have accepted and I am perfectly happy being the fun Aunty. She told me that I was still young enough to have kids and that she had other patients that are older then me that have had kids. During the course of this visit I felt like I was completely ignored by the doctor and that she was more interested in pushing hormone therapy on me then actually looking for the root cause of my issue. Needless to say I wasn’t a happy person.

I decided to try the low dose hormones because at this point anything was better then nothing. They helped with some of my symptoms for about a year. The symptoms slowly started to come back so I decided to go see another doctor to see if they could help me.

The second gynecologist I saw told me that there was nothing more that she could do for me other than put me on birth control pills and even that might not help.

By this point I was frustrated and almost ready to give up, until my friend started talking about the gynecologist that she was seeing. I decided to ask my doctor for another referral as by this point a lot more of my symptoms were starting to return. For my first appointment with Dr. Walters, it was a night and day different. She listened to me and everything I said. When I asked if removing the uterus was an options she was completely on board. Needless to say I was completely surprised by this and informed her of my previous experiences. What she said to me has stuck with me:

“If a 20 year old is mature enough to have a baby, then a 38 year old women is mature enough to make the decision to not and have her uterus removed” Truer words have never been spoken, society looks at most women like they were put here to have babies and that is it. Having a kid is just as permanent as having a uterus removed. 

Dr. Walters tells me that the surgery will be within 5 months. Keep in mind this was during the pandemic when we had a lot more restrictions in place. In fact I was expecting that my surgery would get cancelled at least once. The first date for my surgery that they gave me was Feb 10/22 and it would take place at the Victoria Hospital, that date ended up being cancelled. My new date for the surgery was March 8/22 at the newer HSC Women’s Hospital. My pre-op appointment was done virtually and Dr. Walters walked me though the steps they do to remove the uterus, cervix and fallopian tubes. The surgery is done laparoscopically and you end up delivering the uterus like a baby. They also have to pump you full of gas so that they can see all the organs properly. 

During this time the Manitoba Government changed the amount COVID tests one needed before surgery. I had to do 1 test 10 days before my surgery and the other one was done 1 day before my surgery. Let me tell you those PCR COVID-19 test aren’t the nicest test to have to go though but it was necessary. 

March 8 arrives and its surgery day. I had been told before hand that I might need to spend the night in the hospital. Not something that I had wanted to do and I went into it thinking that I would be going home at the end of the day. I wake up from surgery and wholly crap do I have such pressure in my lower abdomen that I want to pee, weirdly though I had no pain. The nurse told me that it was too far for me to walk to the bathroom since I had just woken up, so my only option was the bed pan. Which is awkward and not gonna lie a little weird, since I was in an odd position I couldn’t go. The nurse figured that it was from the surgery and decided to give me some IV pain killers which I believe was fentanyl and also some anti-nausea meds for the nausea. Shortly after the nurse gave me the medication she noticed that every time she would talk to me my heart rate would spike. She ended up having the anesthesiologist come and take a look at me. She checked my chest to make sure that none of the gas bubbles had gotten into the chest area. She also request that I have an EKG done to rule out anything. 

Since my heart rate remained high she recommending that I be admitted for the night in order to be monitored and to see if they could bring my heart rate down. They took me for a ride up to my room which was on the 5th floor of the hospital. Now let me tell you the hospital rooms were almost as nice as a hotel room. I had my own room with free cable tv and you could also use your Netflix account there if you wanted. I was way to high and out of it to even remember my Netflix log in! Once I was situate in my room, Dr. Walters came to see me to tell me how my surgery went. She mentioned that it went very well and that I had minimal bleeding. She also told me that they had discover some endometriosis. It wasn’t until later on that I found out the endometriosis was on the uterosacral ligament. These ligaments are what help support the uterus and this type of endometriosis tends to be quite painful. She probably told me more things about the surgery but its hard to remember the details. 

I was hooked up to an IV with fluids the entire time I was admitted, by 2am my heart rate still hadn’t come down. They were trying to bring it below 100 beats a minute and at this point started to treat me for dehydration. I had multiple bags of IV fluids plus 2 rounds of half a bag of IV fluids. The 2 smaller bags of IV fluids were pumped into me over a hour time span. I was finally able to go home around 3p on the 9th. It took me roughly 10 weeks to full recover to where my energy returned to normal. I had gotten so used to feeling tired and crappy that I completely forgot what it felt like to feel good. 

What have I learnt from this experience, you and only you can advocate for your health. It is completely ok to ask for a second or third option. Don’t feel shy about saying it either. In fact I wish I would have done it sooner. I have no regrets on having my uterus removed and every woman that I know that has had it remove say it was the best thing they ever did. Some doctors perception on periods need to change. Too many times I have heard from people that their GP’s tell them that a painful period is normal. Being curled up in a ball on the couch in pain is NOT NORMAL. As well doctors shouldn’t just assume that a women wants to have kids. Not everyone does, and to tell them that they won’t remove the uterus because you might change your mind isn’t acceptable. Unfortunately there are a lot of things that could have been done differently within the health care system. 

I will leave it at this having the surgery was the best decision I ever made and I would make it all over again multiple times to be pain free and have my live back to normal. If I hadn’t had the surgery I wouldn’t have been able to capture some of the images that I have this year. Including spending 4 hours on the beach photographing an amazing northern lights show.

Sunrise & Golden Hour Photography Walking around The Exchange District

The Historic Exchange District in Downtown Winnipeg is one of my favourite places in the city to shoot. The area is over 20 blocks of beautiful older buildings, which I absolutely love to capture. 

However I have never done a sunrise shoot, so I decided one weekend to do a morning shoot. 

A little bit about The Exchange District

The buildings in the Exchange District where built between 1878 and 1913. During that time Winnipeg was going through a boom and the Exchange District was at the heart of. It even got the nickname “Chicago of the North”. Throughout the Exchange District there are hand painted “ghost signs” on a lot of the buildings. This was how the businesses in the area advertise their products and services. They also make for a great subject to photograph! 

In 1997 The Exchange District was declared a National Historic Site and has become a favourite place for locals and tourists to explore! 


I prefer shooting sunrises instead of sunsets. Most people sleep in on the weekends which makes it a perfect time to shoot sunrises, especially if you are wanting an empty street look that I had wanted for my images. 

Shooting sunrises can be challenging, as you are pointing your camera towards the direction that the sun rises in. The camera has a hard time seeing dynamic range like our eyes see. If you are wanting to do silhouettes this is the perfect time of the day to do them. I wasn’t looking to shoot silhouettes that morning. I had wanted to capture the golden light hitting the buildings (more on that later in the blog)

I haven’t expected to get any colour in the sky that morning, but I was presently surprised when I did. One of my tips when shooting either a sunrise or sunset is to look in every direction, as you can get colour in the sky where you least expect it. 

A couple of the images below were taken facing south and south west. Which allows for easier exposure of the buildings as you aren’t shooting towards the sun. I also thought that I would share my exposure settings, that I have used to capture these images. 

Gear used for the shots below:

Canon 5D Mark 3

Canon 16mm-35mm Lens f/2.8

  • Image # 1
    • Aperture – F/7.1
    • Shutter Speed – 1/200 sec
    • ISO – 1000


  • Image # 2 
    • Aperture – F/7.1
    • Shutter Speed – 1/100 sec
    • ISO – 1000

0Y1A7011 copy

  • Image # 3
    • Aperture – F/7.1
    • Shutter Speed – 1/100 sec
    • ISO – 1000


The Golden Hour

This time of the day is absolutely beautiful to shoot in. You have 2 chances each day to shoot during the golden hour. The first is after sunrise and the second is just before sunset. Shooting during this time in the city can be really tricky because some of the building is lit by the sun while the other parts are in the shadows. When I am shooting during the golden hour I like to shoot in manual mode, this allows me to pick the exposure that I would like. In order to get details in the shadows I will slightly over exposure the sky. I shoot in camera raw which allows me to get the detail back that was over exposed, in post production. 

The angle of the sun changes throughout the year which will create different lighting effects on the buildings. For instance in the summer the sun rises, more to the north in the eastern sky and in the winter it rises more towards the south. 

Going out during different times of the year and watching how the light hits the buildings will help you learn about lighting. 

Gear used for the shots below:

Canon 5D Mark 3

Canon 16mm-35mm Lens f/2.8

  • Image # 1
    • Aperture – F/8
    • Shutter Speed – 1/160 sec
    • ISO – 1000


  • Image # 2 
    • Aperture – F/8
    • Shutter Speed – 1/160 sec
    • ISO – 1000


  • Image # 3
    • Aperture – F/10
    • Shutter Speed – 1/160 sec
    • ISO – 1000


Hope you have enjoyed reading my blog! If you have any question about photography please feel free to ask!


Tips for Cityscape Photography


Cityscape photography is dynamic and fun to shoot. It can also be challenging to shoot but I am here to help you out with those challenges!
Let’s get started!

Before we dive into the tips for shooting cityscape photography, I want to make a suggestion that will help you with your craft. When I first started out in photography I was told to read my camera manual from front to back. Yeah I know that sounds boring, so why am I recommending it? Well, it helps you understand what your camera can and can’t do which makes you a stronger photographer. If you know what your camera can/can’t do it will help you when you are out shooting.

1. Lenses to use for Cityscape Photography

My favourite lens to use is my Canon 24mm-105mm lens. It’s the perfect walking around lens for shooting cityscape. It gives you both a wide angle lens and a zoom lens. Having a walk around lens is perfect when you are doing cityscape photography, as you aren’t carry a bunch of heavy lens around.

If you want to go even wider then the 24mm lens then I would recommend using a 16mm-35mm lens. When you are shooting with a wide angle lens you need to remember that the edges on a wide angle lens are curved, which will result in making any straight lines curved. We will talk about how to fix that later in the blog.

A zoom lens would be a great lens to use particularly if you are wanting to do abstract or more detailed shots of the buildings. The great thing about a zoom lens is it compresses the scene that you are shooting so it makes objects look closer then what they appear to the naked eye. Keep in mind that these lenses tend to be heavy and I won’t recommend walking around with them for a long period of time.

2. The best time of day to shoot

The Golden Hour – Happens after sunrise and before sunset, it’s a beautiful time of day to shoot. The sun being lower on the horizon create’s beautiful long shadows in the scene. This time of day adds a beautiful golden tone to the image. It’s truly a magical time of day to shoot.


The Blue Hour – Happens before sunrise and after sunset, this is the perfect time to do cityscape photography because the lights will be on in the buildings. The best part about this time is that there is still detail in the sky and your images will have a wonderful blue tone to them.


3. Settings

This is the tricky part of cityscape photography and its also the personal preference of the photographer.

While your settings will very depend on the lighting and time of day you are out shooting. Here are the settings that I tend to us the most. I generally shoot in manual mode and adjust my shutter speed as needed.


  • Aperture – My go to aperture setting is usually between f/8-f/11. The higher the aperture number, the greater the depth of field, meaning more of the image will be in focus. The lower the aperture number, the shallower the depth of field, meaning more of the image will be out of focus.


  • Shutter Speed – This will very greatly depending on the lighting and the effect that you are going for. The shutter speeds that I use are fast enough to freeze the motion and that allows me to walk around without a tripod. They are generally between 1/200 & 1/400 second.


  • If you are wanting to show motion in the image then a shutter speed of 1/8 second or lower is perfect. You will need to make sure that your camera is on a tripod for these types of images.


  • ISO – Keeping your ISO low will reduce the noise in your images. I usually keep one at 100-200.



I do most of my editing in Camera Raw and Photoshop. I prefer spending more time shooting then behind the computer so I do minimal editing with my photos. I generally teak the exposure and add some clarity to bring out the details in the image.

The biggest thing with cityscape photography is to make sure that the buildings are straight. This can be done with the Camera Raw Filter in Photoshop. This video is extremely helpful and it’s really easy to correct the distortion.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog! If you have any question about photography please feel free to email me.

Learning to Live with Anxiety


My anxiety started when I was a teenager and I am not fully sure that I understood it at the time. In fact I don’t think I have fully understood it until now. There would be days were it was hard to get out of bed and face the day. Part of that was my depression that I had when I was younger. There were panic attacks when I had to do anything that was out of my comfort zone. I later discover that doing stuff out of your comfort zone takes the fear away. In my twenties and early thirties it would be stress that would trigger my anxiety and then the sleepless nights would start. Once that starts its like a rock going downhill and it is so hard to stop. Taking the time off work helped with the exhaustion but it also create a fear of leaving the house. I had to force myself to leave even if it was just for a little bit. I felt weird out in public and all I wanted to do was get back home to my comfort zone. During this time I figured out my own way of dealing with my anxiety

I have had anxiety for a longtime but it wasn’t until recently that I truly learned how to live with it, maybe it’s my age. I am in my mid-thirties and I finally love the person that I am. Perhaps it’s the medication or maybe all the self reflecting that I have done in the past six months. It could be all of the above but I have found a way to live with my anxiety and be ok with it.

I have found that a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders since I have learnt to accept my anxiety as part of me. Accepting my anxiety has taken away the power it has over me. In essences when you stop feeding the beast it becomes weaker. Its still their but accepting it takes its power away.

Making changes in my daily life has helped with keeping my stress levels low, which helps keep my anxiety at bay. I now block off my Sundays as me days, I use those days to do whatever I want. Whether that is doing photography, reading, chilling and watching tv or baking, for me doing something creative helps relax me. On those days that are blocked off as me days I try not to schedule anything on those days. I have learned to say no which isn’t easy as I have a really bad habit of over scheduling myself.

Changing your mindset is also a huge help when living with anxiety. It is really hard to learn how to not sweat the small things or to know when you are having a reaction to something that isn’t normal. This has taken me forever to learn to do this and even now there are somedays were I can feel myself slipping back into that mindset and I just to have to remind myself that I am ok.

What I have found out is that I have to do what works best for me and my mental illness. My goal with sharing my story has always been to end the stigma that is out there. The more we talk about it the less power it has. I will leave you with a favourite quote of mine by Brene Brown. When we deny the story, it defines us. When we own the story we can write a brave new ending.

Fog, Tree, and Dress Series

Its Friday night and I am at home watching the Bomber game, when I noticed the fog start to roll into the stadium. I got excited because I love shooting in the fog and we don’t get a lot of foggy days here in Manitoba. As I was watching the game the fog got thicker so I started to get my gear and my dress ready for the next morning. I wanted to be in Bird’s Hill Park before the sunrise. The next morning just before I was ready to leave for Bird’s Hill Park I checked the webcams and didn’t see anything so I knew it would be foggy in the park. The minute I hit Highway 59 I got really excited, the fog was thick and it was gorgeous out.

I knew exactly were I wanted to do my shots. The minute I entered the park I felt like a kid on Christmas morning. I parked the car close to the trees that I wanted to use in my images and the minute I step out of the car I was greeted by this beautiful but slightly eerie silence. The morning air was crisp and cool with no wind, which is perfect conditions for fog. I gathered up my gear and walked to the tree to set up my first shot. What I didn’t expect that morning was the amount of moisture that was on the ground and I made the mistake of wearing my runners. By the time I got to the tree that I wanted to shoot my feet were wet.

The first idea that I wanted to try out was for me to be reaching up to the tree. I set up my gear and looked at the scene in front of me. The thing I thought was were should I position myself in the frame to achieve the image that I wanted. For me the right side of the tree had the perfect branches. As I was positioning myself in the right position I heard this dripping sound, when I looked up at the tree I notice a ton of tiny water droplets on it. Which made me realize I should have brought my macro lens with me so I could also shoot the water droplets! Next time I will remember to bring my macro lens with me.


My next stop was to one of my favourite places in the park. I stopped at one of my favourite trees to try out a couple more shots but I wasn’t entirely happy with how they turned out. What did catch my eye was another scene, it was a trail that led into the fog with a tree on the left hand side of the trail. I thought this place would be a perfect place to try out a running shot. Only problem was that I was wearing my runners and I didn’t think that would be a good look with my dress! Since my feet were already wet I decided why not try running bare foot. It was a little chilly on the feet but once I got used to it I was fine. When I got back to my camera I realized that I didn’t have a towel to clean my feet so I dug into my camera back and found some kleenex! After I put my shoes back on I looked at the back of the camera and I liked the results but I wasn’t blown away by them. I decided to try a couple more shots with different poses and the image below was the result.



The next scene that I was drawn to, was one that had large trees and then smaller evergreens. I love the different scales of trees in the scene. Another thing about the scene that I loved was the way the fog was making the smaller evergreens look, they were beautifully silhouette by the fog. I knew I wanted to place myself in between the evergreens and I wanted to be looking up at the taller tree. It took a couple of different shots to get the placement right but persistent paid off! I even got a little lucky with some wind, so there is a little movement in my dress.


Before I left the park to do my errands I decided to head back to the same place I was when I first was in the park. I ended up walking out to a tree that was out further in the field. At this time the fog got even thicker. I wanted to do some sitting down shots for this one and I wanted to make sure that I face away from the tree so that the viewers eye would be first drawn to me and then out of the scene. I wanted the feeling of this image to be a bit of desperation, which is why I ducked my head into my knee. With the final image I ended up moving the camera closer to the tree as I found that I was getting lost in the grandness of the scene.


I never had any intention of these images being part of a series but in the end that is what they became. I am extremely happy with the results and I look forward to more foggy mornings!

My Story……Living with a Mental Illness


I have struggle with whether or not I should share my struggles with anxiety/depression. I have decided to be brave and share my story. My goal with talking about mental illnesses is to help break the stigma that there is towards mental illnesses. My hope with me sharing this is that it helps someone and if I manage to help one person then it will be all worth it.

I first notice some depression when I was a teenage but I didn’t really think much of it. I kinda of brushed it off as me just going through normal teenage things. I really started to notice in my early twenties how bad my depression really was. At the time I was going to school, working full-time and planning a wedding. It all got really overwhelming for me and I ended up slipping into a deep depression. I would spend most of my days on the couch unable to motivate myself to do anything. Having a shower was a chore. my fiancé at the time(now my ex) encouraged me to see the doctor. My doctor ended up putting me on anti-depressant pills, which didn’t help one bit. At one point my doctor had tried me on a wide range of different antipsychotic. I tried taking these meds for one day only. Why? I ended up being so drowsy that I spent the entire day sleeping only being able to wake up enough to eat a small amount of food. My doctors prescribe these to me thinking that I was bipolar – which wasn’t the case. She ended up recommending me to the mood disorders clinic. The wait list is incredibly long and could take up to 2 years to sit with one of the their doctors for half and hour. While I was on the wait list my symptoms got worse. It was to the point were I would lose touch with reality and try to hurt myself. I didn’t do this because I was suicidal I did it because all I wanted was to feel something anything was better than nothing. That’s the thing with depression sometimes is that you lose all feeling. You don’t feel pain, happiness or even sadness. It feels more like an emptiness that you are a shell of a person. Once I saw the doctor at the mood disorder clinic she ended up diagnosing me with borderline personality disorder. Which is what is now known as bipolar. I understood the borderline part because I do tend to keep people at a distance. It takes me a while to let people in. I ended up getting better slowly. The medication eventually started working and I was able to go back to work. Later on I would be told that I was miss diagnosed and that I had a generalized anxiety disorder.

I have found that as I have gotten older my depression has gone away and all that is left is anxiety which is a completely different beast. For those that don’t suffer from anxiety its like a never-ending movie that keeps replaying over and over in your mind. You over analyze everything to the point that you end up second guessing yourself. My anxiety began to creep back shortly after my ex asked for a divorce. It has been present ever since. There are days and times when I am able to control it. I tell myself that everything is going to be ok and it’s not as bad as I am making it out to be.

I recently took a 1 month leave of absence from work. Looking back on it my anxiety had been an issue for the last year and a half. I had symptoms that I ignored thinking that I had a handle on things when I didn’t. I would shake like a leaf at the slightest of confrontations. I had a lot going on with taking a college course, learning a new job, and trying to do my photography. The worst part of it was that I started to not sleep properly. The thing I have noticed is stress triggers my anxiety which then triggers fatigue because you don’t sleep. I ended up spending periods of the night lying awake worrying about things that I said or things that I couldn’t change and had no control over. Why do we do this to ourselves? In my case it’s because I have a mental illness and I am not afraid to own it anymore. I was so afraid to take a leave of absence as I was afraid I would be seen as weak. The moment I realized that I had to take a leave of absence was when I was at the cottage I looked into the mirror and didn’t recognize myself. I looked exhausted like I was fighting an internal battle with myself which I was. I had a lot of different symptoms the worst of which was the trouble concentrating and remembering things. I would talk with someone and instantly forget parts of the conversations. Once I finally went on my leave I had time to decompress. This allowed me to sleep and did I ever sleep. I had never felt so tired before. It took 2 weeks before I felt somewhat normal. While I was decompressing I hated leaving the house. I wanted to stay in my “safe” zone and not go out into the cruel world. I forced myself to leave the house even if it was just to get groceries.

My doctors recommend that I try taking medication again. Initially I fought going on the medication – my doctor told me that I couldn’t take a break from life which made me realize that I needed some help. The first medication started to help me until I had an allergic reaction to it.

Luckily I was able to find another medication that worked. I will say that the initial side effects of the medication can be difficult to live though but once you get though the side effects it is worth it. For the first week I was extremely agitated to the point that it felt like my skin was crawling.

I feel like my old self again. I have energy and my anxiety levels are almost nothing which is great! The medication helps with my anxiety but I have realized that I do need help with dealing with stress.

Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. Whether that is asking a friend for help or asking your doctor. I have found that a lot of my friends are amazing and have offer to talk with me should I ever need it. I am lucky to have an amazing support system.

Behind the Lens – Lady of the Lake

I tend to come up with a lot of my shot ideas before I head out shooting. For this sunrise I had a different idea in mind. While I ended up liking that shot idea, in my opinion, the unplanned shot is the better image of the 2.

One of Lake Winnipeg’s nicknames is Big Windy. Most of the time the lake has waves on it but this morning there was just a gentle breeze. Which is great for reflections and having some clouds in the sky adds an additional element.

After shooting the sunrise we decided to head back to the cottage, as I didn’t see anything that grabbed my attention to shoot. As we were leaving the beach I took a look back at the lake. I make a habit of looking back at the lake before I leave incase something catches my eye. The scene on the other side of the break rocks was beautiful. I headed over to take a couple of shots and when I looked at the back of the camera I knew that I had to head back to the cottage to grab my dress as I didn’t like the self portrait I had taken with the outfit I was wearing.

After I changed into my dress and was heading back to the beach the sun decided to come out from behind the clouds and provide a beautiful golden light. I decided to place myself on the rock facing towards the sun. This way it would illuminate the front of me so that there would be detail in my face. The light was coming from the left hand side of the image which is what is know as side light.

So what exactly is side lighting? Well it is just as it sounds the light hits your scene or subject from the side. Side light can be dramatic and beautiful which is created by having part of the subject/scene in the “shadows”. In the below image the front of the rock and the front of myself is lit by the light coming in from the side while the rock behind me is in the shadows.


0Y1A5525The final image:


Behind the Lens – Frozen Lake Winnipeg

I haven’t been out to shoot on Lake Winnipeg this year. I usually like to go multiple times in the winter as the lake changes quite a bit.

Before I head out shooting I usually like to have a couple of ideas in my head about what I want to shoot. This can sometimes be difficult when I don’t know what type of conditions I will encounter. I knew I wanted to do some self portraits wearing a dress. (sometimes not the best idea in winter but I still wear my winter boots and arctic base layers)

To me the best time to head out shooting is either before/after sunrise and before/after sunset. Since I like to head to the Matlock area I usually do a sunrise.

Access to the lake in the winter time can be tricky. I know of an area that allows easy access to the lake. That was the place that I headed to first and I ended up getting lucky with having a ice ridge close to shore. I wanted to stand on the ice ridge for the self portrait shot. (Ice ridges can have soft ice that can give away. The only reason I stood on the ridge is because there was no soft ice around the ridge and it was less then 2 feet from shore in what I knew was low water)

Upon arriving at the lake I walked up and down the ridge looking for something that drew my eye. I manage to find some texture in the snow that created a leading line towards the ridge.(the texture in the snow is created my high winds blow over the snow)  My thought process was to include that leading line in the image. I decided to place myself at the end of that leading line so that the views eye would follow that line. The other thing that I really wanted to include in the image was the crescent moon that was in the south-eastern part of the sky. I thought that the crescent moon added a little something different to the image. It gave the image a little bit of a day to night feeling to it. For the pose I had a completely different idea in mind but it just wasn’t working out and one of the poses that I really liked ended up being a happy accident.  The shutter clicked at the right time.



The other pose was a pose that I have done often. In post processing I decided to crop the image so that there wasn’t as much empty space at the bottom of the image. To me both images work well.


Behind The Lens – Sunrise on a Rock Self Portrait

I have had this shot idea in my head for a while. A couple of things had to come together in order for this shot to work. The first is low water levels that allow me to see and use the rock. The 2nd is a dramatic/colourful sky.

When shooting a sunrise/sunset sometimes the exposure can be a bit tricky. This is why it is best to shoot in manual mode. For the longest time I had been shooting in aperture priority mode. I found it difficult to get an exposure that I liked. With manual exposure mode I am able to get a more precise exposure. This allows me to be able to not overexpose the sky, while still maintaining a little bit of detail in the foreground.

 Trying Different Composition’s and why certain composition’s work better

When shooting the sunrise sometimes the colour last’s for a long time which makes it easier to try out multiple different composition’s. Other times the colour in the sunrise doesn’t last as long, so you need to hustle to get different composition’s in.

1st Composition

This is was the first composition that I tried the morning of the sunrise. While I like this composition I thought that I was a little too centre in the frame and that the sky needed to be a little more interesting.


2nd Composition

So I decided to re-compose the shot with the rock in the left hand portion of the frame. After taking a couple of shots I looked on the back of the camera and noticed that I was lost in the image. Meaning the silhouette shape wasn’t as nice as it had been in the first image. I tried this composition with me standing on the rock and it worked much better that way.


3rd Composition

The next recomposition ended up being the shot I liked the best. I ended up putting myself close to the middle of the frame. I think this composition works the best. It enables me to get the right shape in the silhouette. I notice the ripples in the water and the semi-circle that the ripples were creating. I ended up moving the camera over slightly to include the ripples in the water. I like the way the ripples in the water mimic the curve in the clouds. The curve of the clouds also adds another element to the image. It allows your eye to follow the curve through the frame.


4th Composition

I love the colour that was happening in the clouds. I recomposed to move the rock into the right hand side of the frame. To me this image missed the mark slightly in the fact that I am facing the wrong way. I think the image would be a stronger image if I was facing with my feet pointing towards the left side of the frame instead of the towards the right. I ended up liking the landscape version of this shot more then I did the self portrait one.


Keep in mind these are my options on what I think works best and another photographer might have a different option.

*Always make sure you are safe when out shooting. I ended spraining the tendons in my wrist getting this shot. While I don’t regret it, I do wish I had taken the time to get myself off of the rock in a safer manner.

Behind the Lens Series – Northern Lights Self Portrait

One of my favourite things to photograph is the northern lights. I was lucky enough to photograph them the weekend of Sept 29th, while I was at the cottage.

I knew there was a chance for the northern lights to be active, so I kept my phone on. I get email notifications from NOAA ( that tell me when the lights are going to be active. I had gotten up to use the washroom and had trouble falling back asleep. I heard my phone buzz so I decided to check it. I saw that the lights were active, so I decided to check out the patio doors. I saw the lights so I decided to grab my gear and head down to the beach. I also woke my Aunt up as she had wanted to join me.

There was a south wind again which was pushing the water off shore to reveal some amazing textures in the sand and sandbars. The sandbars protected the water close to the shore from the wind. Which allows for beautiful reflections to be captured.

I had an idea of a self portrait. The idea was me on a sandbar with the reflections of the northern lights in the water. Since the pier had been taken down the only way to get to the sandbar was to walk in the water. Since it is fall time in Manitoba I would need to get my rubber boots. I went back and forth about whether or not I should go to my car to get my rubber boots. Luckily I ended up deciding to go and get my rubber boots.

In order for this shot to happen a couple of things needed to come together. Due to the fact that I had to walk out to the sandbar, an intervalometer is a must. This allows me to get take multiple shots without have to go back to the camera. The next thing that I needed was a flashlight to be able to see where I am walking. The last thing I wanted to do was for me to trip while walking in the lake. I had to make sure that I placed myself in the correct spot on the sandbar to get the nice reflection in the water. I knew I had to place myself on the thinnest part of the sandbar, this placement helps give the illusion that I am sort of walking on water.

Before I headed out to the sandbar I needed to make sure that my focus and exposure were correct. Focusing in the dark is always tricky. You want to have your focus set to infinity. This will make the stars in the shot nice and sharp. I have used my lens a lot for night shooting, so I know where the infinity focus is. Once I have set the focus I always zoom in on a star to make sure it looks like a pinpoint. If you haven’t done a lot of night shooting the best to focus in the dark is to use your live view and zoom in on a star and focus. For night photography you also have to use manual exposure. I did a couple of test shots before I headed out to the sandbar. My final exposure that I used for this shot was aperture – F/2.8 shutter speed – 10 seconds and ISO 2000. I made sure to set my intervalometer to shoot 10 shots. I would have to make sure that I stood still for at least 10 seconds. What I always do is count to myself. I ended up counting up to 20 to make sure that I had a least one shot that was nice and sharp.