Lori Janeson: How the World’s Second-Largest Country Is One Gigantic Photo Opportunity


It’s not exactly news that Canada is a beautiful country. Even if you’ve never set foot in this fair land, you’ve surely seen the pictures. Canada’s vastness is second only to its ecological diversity — virtually every temperate and arctic biome is represented here.

Lori Janeson, a longtime Manitoba resident who splits her time between the city of Winnipeg and a rural vacation home on the shores of Lake Winnipeg, knows a thing or two about Canada’s natural beauty. As an budding nature photographer, she spends much of her time out in the field. She hasn’t been to every great place to snap outdoor photos in Canada — no one has, because that would take lifetimes — but she’s done more than most.

Here’s why she’s so in love with photographing her home country — and why it might just be time for you to pick up your camera and head north.

Lori Janeson: Why I’m Spending More Time on Lake Winnipeg

There’s no place like home.

For Lori Janeson, home — at least, part of the time — is Lake Winnipeg, Canada’s sixth Lori Janeson kid with netlargest lake. Specifically, we’re talking about Hecla Island and its environs, protected by Hecla Grindstone Provincial Park.

Lake Winnipeg is enormous; Janeson freely admits she hasn’t seen the entire thing. Way up north, where improved roads are few and far between, simply accessing the shore is a challenge.

There are plenty of places to photograph within a couple hours’ drive of Winnipeg, though. The town of Gimli, arguably the epicenter of summer tourism on the lake, offers a great blend of rustic and urban photography. The Icelandic Festival of Manitoba, held here each year (and every year since the late 19th century), provides a wealth of human subjects; Viking Park, the town’s unofficial outdoor gathering place, sports a gaudy Norse warrior statue that’s required viewing for first-time visitors.

Further north, on Hecla Island, things get wilder. (In the purest sense of the term.) Lori Janeson has spent more hours than she can count waiting atop the wildlife viewing towers at Grassy Narrows Marsh, holding out for the perfect shot of a blue heron stalking the waters or an elusive moose browsing the forested edges.

An avid kayaker, Janeson spends plenty of time on open-water photography, too. The land looks a whole lot different from the water, after all, and many geological formations that aren’t clearly visible from shore are easily captured by boat.

Home on the Range

Janeson isn’t originally from Manitoba. She grew up in rural Saskatchewan, several hundred kilometers to the west.

Her family still owns a farm out there — they raise canola, mostly, on about 9,000 acres. Her brothers handle the day-to-day, but Lori along with her husband, David Janeson and their family have an open invitation to visit pretty much whenever they want. They take advantage almost every summer — for Janeson, it’s a great opportunity to teach her kids the value of a hard day’s work and remind them how good they have it out in Manitoba.

Saskatchewan’s wide-open prairies and endless skies also make for fantastic photo opportunities, so it’s no sweat off Janeson’s back to visit. Whenever she can beg off farm work in favor of an impromptu outdoor photo session, she does.

Great Lakes, Great Photography

A few hundred kilometers to the east of Lori Janeson’s home lies Lake Superior, the largest of North America’s five Great Lakes. (Lake Winnipeg isn’t among them.)

The shores of the upper Great Lakes are rugged, rocky, wild — a stark contrast from the gentler limestone edges of Lake Winnipeg. According to Janeson, the best time to photograph Lake Superior in particular is during one of the lake’s famous storms, which can kick up breakers taller than an adult human and swells up to 30 feet. (On a lake the size of the U.S. state of South Carolina, that’s pretty impressive.)

The Great White North: Worth the Journey

It’s often said that Canada is five thousand miles wide and one mile thick. While that’s obviously an exaggeration, it’s true that Canada’s population is disproportionately concentrated in its southern tier. The vast majority of its inhabitants live within 200 miles of the U.S. border. Head north and you’re in charted, but otherwise very thinly occupied territory.

Canada’s northern boreal forest and tundra ecosystems are vast and, for the most part, pristine. You need a plane, boat, or both to get up here, but it’s absolutely worth the journey. Where else can you take photos of caribou, Arctic foxes, polar bears, and seals — all on the same day, within a few miles of each other?

Urban Nature Photography? In Canada, It’s Not a Contradiction in Terms

In Canada, the urban-rural divide isn’t particularly stark.

With few exceptions, the country’s major cities have excellent park systems and plenty of preserved natural space within their borders. Even densely populated Vancouver — Canada’s San Francisco — has a temperate rainforest within sight of its downtown core. (Not to mention stunning views of British Columbia’s famed coastal mountains.)

Lori Janeson has been all over urban Canada, capturing unexpected images that highlight the constant push and pull between nature and human habitation. Whether she’s snapping the sunrise over Lake Ontario from Toronto’s waterfront, capturing sweeping views of downtown Montreal from towering Mont Royal, or shooting the gentle bends of the Red River in her own hometown, Janeson is at home in any environment. She’d like her fellow photography enthusiasts to be able to say the same.

Five Thousand Miles from Coast to Coast

Canada stretches some five thousand miles from British Columbia’s stunning Pacific islands to the very tip of Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula. In between lie some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes, bountiful wildlife, and inspiring horizons.

It’s impossible to travel through the Canadian countryside or wilderness without feeling a stirring in your soul. Lori Janeson knows the feeling well — she experiences every time she picks up her camera, packs her bag, and heads out for another round of shooting. If you’ve yet to feel it, there’s no time like the present to get started.

Photography Tours & Trips to Explore in 2019

By Lori Janeson

Arguably one of the greatest parts about taking a trip is capturing everything on film. Not only does this help cement the fantastic memories you’ve made for years to come, but let’s face it: it also makes your Instagram a whole lot more interesting.

In the digital age, more and more people are combining their love of travel and amateur photography by setting off on photography tours. The first (and most important) of a photography tour is picking a location. That’s why we’ve put together a list of three fantastic locations close to home you need to explore in 2019.

1. Hecla Island, Manitoba

Situated just two hours away from Winnipeg, Hecla Island is a hidden gem that will let you unwind while you satisfy your inner shutterbug.


“This island paradise is the perfect place for photographers and wildlife enthusiasts alike, thanks to the breath-taking, untouched scenery.” — Lori Janeson


From limestones quarries to the aptly named sunset beach or the famous Grassy Narrows Marsh, you’ll fill your SD card in no time.

If history’s your thing, don’t forget to stop by Gimli village in August to see Nordic heritage come to life at the hugely popular, annual Icelandic festival. As tempting as it will be to do and see everything the island has to offer, remember that one of the best parts about Hecla Island is its slow and rejuvenating pace.

2. Grand Canyon, Arizona

Listed as one of the 7 Wonders of the World, it’s no surprise that The Grand Canyon is a common choice for photography tours. The mile-deep canyon truly shines at sunset, so be sure to head to Hopi Point on the South Rim for a screensaver-worthy view of the sun setting on the canyon’s glorious red gold landscape.

If you’re also a nature lover, keep an eye out for the grey fox, mule deer and bighorn sheep that call the South Rim home.

3. Whistler, British Columbia

For a chance of pace (and climate!), head to Whistler for a chance to capture some truly stunning winterscapes. This romantic pedestrian-only Village is best enjoyed with one hand on your camera and the other on your partner’s (particularly if they’re also an avid photographer). Not only will the surreal, snow-blanketed mountain provide some gorgeous photo opportunities, but it’s also a great place to unwind, relax and even try your hand at skiing!

For the perfect shot, make your way to the Callaghan Valley. Here, you’ll get a clear view of Black Tusk, the last remaining portion of a now dormant volcano. Another truly Instagrammable view can be found just South of Whistler, in the form of Brandywine Falls, a 70 metre waterfall studded with snow.

For an unforgettable photography tour, do your research. Once you’ve decided on the perfect location, look for tours with a high instructor to student ratio and a pace that lets you enjoy each destination before moving on. Happy snapping!



Lori Janeson is a nature photographer living in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

5 Tips for Taking Captivating Shots With the iPhone X

By Lori Janeson

Whenever a new iPhone comes out, it’s not unusual for die-hard Apple fans queue overnight for a chance to get their hands on it. For some, a new handset means a higher resolution or access to unique third-party apps. For amateur and professional photographers alike, it’s all about the camera.

That’s why we’ve put together a list of five tips for taking captivating shots with your new iPhone X and its two impressive 12 megapixel rear cameras.

1. Learn to Use Portrait Mode

One of our favourite things about the iPhone X is its finely tuned ability to separate the subject from the background. Utilizing portrait mode will help you create a bokeh effect. Put simply, this effect causes the background to soften while keeping your subject crisp and sharp for a portrait that really pops.


“For the most effective use of portrait mode, make sure you’re positioned around 6-8 feet of your subject.” — Lori Janeson


The iPhone X has a clever inbuilt system that will instruct you to ‘move closer’ or ‘move further away’ to get into optimum position for your shot.

2. Try out the Flash

Gone are the days when using flash meant risking completely washing out your image.  Using iPhone X’s latest technology, Slow Sync, your camera can now capture warm-toned, flattering images in low light using Quad-LED True Tone flash. This mode is perfect for dimly lit restaurants or outdoor settings after sunset.

3. Use a Tripod in Low Lighting

One way to dramatically increase the odds of getting a sharp image after dark is to use a tripod. The less light available, the longer the exposure required. This means that you’ll need to keep your iPhone X steady and stationary for a longer period to avoid blurring. Fortunately, with smartphone photography growing in popularity, there are stacks of compatible mounts and tripods available that won’t break the bank or take up much space.

4. Take Photos in Bursts

While not a new feature, we encourage you to revisit the burst feature on your new iPhone X to increase your chances of getting a killer shot. Burst mode allows you to shoot 10 pictures per second by holding down the shutter button. This mode is ideal for family photos, where at least one person is bound to blink!

5. Experiment with Live Photo Effects

Another feature that has improved with the introduction of the iPhone X is Live Photo Effects. Now you can capture waterfalls or flickering flames in all their glory by using the Long Exposure effect. Also be sure to check out ‘Bounce’, iOS’s built-in version of Boomerang. This effect plays the frames of your video then immediately reverses them in a boomerang effect.

And there you have it, using these five tips, you’ll be able to wow family and friends with the quality of your iPhone X photos.


Lori Janeson is a nature photographer living in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

How to Photograph Wildlife the Right Way

By Lori Janeson

Taking pictures of wildlife is a bit trickier than taking photos of the stunning landscape around Lake Winnipeg. The landscape may not move, but animals do.

If you’d like to take better wildlife, whether it’s birds or moose, follow these tips to get better photos.

Tip 1: Practice Before You Head Out

Practice taking backyard photos with the camera you intend to use to shoot wildlife. Try taking photos of birds from a variety of distances and in various lighting. Adjust your camera settings and learn to create the best possible shots when you’re calm and relaxed. Practice changing settings until you can do it without looking at your camera.

Tip 2: Cultivate Patience

When it comes to photographing wildlife, remember that you’re not in control of the situation. The bird, moose or other wild animal is. Much of the time, you’ll be waiting for wildlife to arrive or move or do something. You’ll have to be patient.

Tip 3: Learn About Your Subject

You can’t just head out any time hoping to get a picture of a black bear. Wildlife follows its own patterns and before you try to capture an animal’s essence, study its behavior and normal activity.


“Learning about an animal’s behavior gives you a much better chance of capturing an amazing moment.” — Lori Janeson


Learn where your subjects typically inhabit at a given time of the year, read about their food sources and research typical behavior.

If at all possible, observe your subject animal over a period of time. Then when the real action happens, you’ll be ready.

Tip 4: Learn the Photography Rules for Wildlife

The rule of thirds, where you picture your subject within a square or line intersection of grid of nine equal squares, is as important when you shoot wildlife as it is in other types of photography.

When you photograph wildlife, however, the subject’s eyes become important. Eye contact is often considered the prime example of fine wildlife photography because an image of a wild animal looking at the camera seems more alive.

That’s not to say that the only way to take a dramatic photo of an animal is if it’s looking straight at you. In fact, many of the best wildlife photos are of animals being themselves; doing what they do naturally.

Don’t be afraid to break the rules to get great pictures.

Tip 5: Use Nature’s Light to Your Advantage

The sun is the perfect partner when it comes to shooting wildlife. Early morning and the light just before dark are ideal lighting conditions. Afternoon sun is typically too harsh, but if you’re willing to get up early and catch the animal at sunrise, you just might take a masterpiece.

Overcast skies have their own special aura. Clouds provide a natural light filter that let you photograph any time during the day.

As for the position of the sun and the light rays, the consensus is you should never shoot directly into the sun. The only problem with that is you may not always be able to move to a better position when you’re watching and waiting for an awesome wildlife moment to photograph. Experiment with your camera’s settings and take pictures anyway. You just might come up with a great shot even if you break the rules.


Lori Janeson is a nature photographer living in Winnipeg, Manitoba.