How to Take Great Nature Shots With Almost Any Camera  

By Lori Janeson

Taking pictures of  wildlife and dramatic landscapes seems natural when you live on Lake Winnipeg. But, even if you don’t, photographing nature is one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling hobbies you can have.

If you think taking great pictures means you have to buy an expensive camera and learn about all the settings before you start, don’t worry. You can begin learning the techniques to take awe-inspiring nature photos using any camera at your disposal, including your camera phone. All you need to do is begin.

Tip 1: Choose Your Camera

You don’t need a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera to get started. The latest phone cameras include technological advances that have the ability to take incredible pictures.

If you’re serious from the start, a DSLR is your best bet. Still, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on the latest and greatest. Look at online marketplaces for older versions of Canon or Nikon cameras to find more affordable options.

Tip 2: Know Your Camera

It doesn’t matter what type of camera you plan to use, familiarize yourself with the way it works and the different settings before you head out. Practice taking shots in your backyard. Try different settings. Experiment and have some fun while you’re at it.

Tip 3: Prepare Ahead of Time

If you want to take photographs of the stunning areas around Hecla Island or anywhere else, plan ahead. Wear comfortable hikers or boots, layer your clothing and take water and snacks in case your hike takes longer than you expect.

Take someone with your or let someone know where you’re going if you go out alone. Check your location’s regulations about where you can go and what you can shoot.


“If you plan to photograph wildlife, pay strict attention to the region’s rules about how close you can get and acceptable behavior around wild animals.” — Lori Janeson


Even if there are no set rules, keep your distance from wildlife to avoid stressing them and putting yourself in danger.

Tip 4: Take the Right Equipment

It’s very difficult to hold a camera steady with just your hands. Take a tripod to make sure you take clear pictures. If you don’t have one, try using a rock, tree branch or level ground instead. Consider purchasing a compact tripod. They’re lightweight, easy to carry and make taking great photos a whole lot easier.

Other equipment options to consider include a lens hood to prevent glare on sunny days and waterproof camera cover.

Tip 5: Learn to Set Your Shot

The rule of thirds is a long-standing photography technique. Divide the scene you want to photograph in your mind as a graph cut into nine equal squares. The intersecting lines indicate the space a human’s eye falls. Place the subject inside one of those squares or directly on intersecting lines for a dramatic photo.

Tip 6: Relax and Have Fun

Breathing fresh air while you wait patiently for the perfect shot provides a much-needed respite from the stresses of everyday life. Remember, even the pros take hundreds of pictures and only get a few great shots. Have fun, experiment and enjoy all the outdoor moments now as well as those to come.

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

These 15 Canadian Parks and Natural Areas Beg to Be Photographed

By Lori Janeson

Canada is blessed with an abundance of pristine natural areas and scenic wonderlands. Much of the country is a boreal forest that evinces only minimal evidence of direct human impact — though of course it’s under the gun from insidious threats like climate change and water pollution.

These places begged to be photographed. Whether you’re a budding amateur shooter or a seasoned professional, it’s hard to go wrong with any of them. Here’s what you need to know to plan your next nature photography trip in Canada.

1. Banff National Park, Alberta

Say the words “national park” and “Canada” in the same sentence, context-free, and nine out of ten listeners will assume you’re referring to Alberta’s Banff National Park. Perched in an impossibly beautiful section of the Rocky Mountains, with stunning alpine lakes and high peaks all around, Banff is almost too easy to photograph well. It’s particularly beautiful in the early morning and late afternoon, when the sun’s sharp angles play game with the snow-covered mountains.

2. Jasper National Park, Alberta

Jasper National Park isn’t as well-known as Banff, but it’s actually larger: 11,000 square kilometers, to be precise. And it packs a lot in, from the stunning Icefields Parkway to Mount Edith Cavell, one of Canada’s true natural treasures. (Due to the area’s environmental sensitivity, you’ll need a permit to trek up Mount Edith Cavell.)

3. Fundy National Park, New Brunswick

The Bay of Fundy is one of the world’s best-known tidal bores, and it’s definitely not boring. This rugged seaside landscape is at once intimate and grand. Whether you’re shooting delicate wildlife in its countless tidal pools or capturing the broad sweep of the shoreline, there’s a lot to take in here.

4. Hecla Grindstone Provincial Park, Manitoba

Among Canada’s most distinctive provincial parks, Hecla Grindstone Provincial Park protects more than 1,000 square kilometers of forest and shoreline.


“Come to photograph the charming village; stay to catch a glimpse of moose browsing in Grassy Narrows Marsh.”—Lori Janeson


The park is also home to a historic Icelandic settlement that’s one of the few surviving remnants of a semi-autonomous community within what was then Canada’s Northwest Territories.

5. Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland and Labrador

Visitors to Gros Morne National Park are forgiven for checking their GPS coordinates. More Norway than Newfoundland, this stunning seaside park is characterized by dramatic fjords, soaring cliffs, and scoured rock landscapes displaying centuries of wind and water action. Don’t miss the Tablelands, a broad badland with stunning rock and water views.

6. Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia

A kinder, gentler version of Gros Morne, Cape Breton Highlands mixes watery lowlands with steep sea cliffs, rounded interior mountains, and endangered alpine ecosystems. Hit the Cabot Trail, a stunningly beautiful drive up the park’s west coast, across the interior, and back down its east coast. Mind the switchbacks and remember to stop often for photos.

7. Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta

Waterton Lakes National Park functions as an extension of Glacier National Park, just across the international border in Montana — or perhaps it’s the other way around. Either way, the landscape here is just as stunning: clear blue alpine lakes, high peaks, and ancient glaciers threatened by a changing climate.

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Here’s Everything You Need for Your Next Nature Photography Excursion

By Lori Janeson

Gearing up for the wildlife photography expedition of a lifetime? Or just heading out for a quick out-and-back overnight at the nearest national park?

Either way, you need to be prepared for the unexpected — and equipped to take memorable photos in virtually any conditions.

Don’t leave home without taking these essential items.

Zoom Lenses

Gone are the days of carrying a different zoom lens for every type of photo.


“Think in advance about the type of shooting you’ll be doing — for instance, wildlife photography that requires high-detail distance shots necessitates more powerful equipment.”—Lori Janeson


Today, you can get away with two, maybe three, for the vast majority of nature photography applications.

Waterproof Carrying Case

This is an absolute necessity, even in arid climates and on trips that won’t involve water travel or crossings. You never know when a storm will spin up or you’ll lose your balance at exactly the wrong moment and plunge into a creek.

Lightweight, Sweat-Wicking Fabrics

With the possible exception of summertime excursions in arid climes, where your sweat is likely to burn off before it does much harm, you’ll want to trade in your cotton underlayers for lightweight, sweat-wicking synthetic or silk materials. The cost of these products has cratered in recent years, so stocking up won’t set you back too much. Remember, wet cotton isn’t just uncomfortable: at lower temperatures, it can be dangerous.

Weather-Appropriate Clothing

Each photography expedition is different. If you’re trekking through the desert during the summer, you’ll need a very different wardrobe than you brought on your journey into the high Rockies last November.

Beyond synthetic fabrics, you’ll want to prep for the warmest possible days and the coolest possible nights that you’re likely to encounter — particularly in areas without reliable weather forecasting, such as remote mountain regions.

Lightweight down jackets have improved to the point that they’re not much more than shells, and they pack down accordingly. Wool socks with sweat-wicking liners work wonders in cool, moist climes. Windbreaker jackets are crucial in exposed areas. Head protection —  a wool cap, heavy-duty flapper with ear protection, or baseball cap, depending on the temperature — is a must for sun and weather protection.

Weatherproof Sleeping Bag & Pad

You can always unzip or writhe out of a heavy duty sleeping bag when you get too hot, so bring the coldest-rated bag you’re realistically likely to need. At altitude and high latitudes, for instance, you’ll want a bag rated to withstand freezing temperatures at any time of year.

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