Upper Sackville River Falls, Nova Scotia

After a busy couple of weeks of photo assignments, teaching classes and sitting in front of my computer editing photos & writing emails,  it sure feels good to connect with nature again.

Not all your photo adventures have to be far distant lands.  Sometimes in the constant hustle & shuffle of life you are only allowed time for local adventures.

It is better to get outside & explore even if it is within your city limits.  I think you will be amazed at what natural wonders you can discover in your own “backyard”.

I have a thing for waterfalls in the winter and I have been seeking local waterfalls for a few months now.  The Upper Sackville River falls fit that bill.

I found this location via website searches and following local adventure blogs and youtube channels.  I discussed this method of finding new places in more detail in a previous blog article; How to find new Outdoor Locations to Photograph.

The falls are not as big as I was hoping, however there still are many interesting features to photograph.  I will be coming back to the falls during a high water Spring run and probably bring my fly rod as well as my camera. :)

This was a 1st for me,  I think these are otter tracks sliding into the river.  

Playing around with my Heliopan 12 stop Neutral density filter for some long exposure goodness. I love this filter. It is a little pricey but it has very little imperfection, almost no added color cast and works really well with a digital camera sensor.

One of the many advantages of winter hiking,  you can always follow your tracks back to the car.

From Tiny Landscapes to Big Landscapes, winter hikes have it all.  :)

Sometimes you just need to stop and take in the natural environment around you.  From me that means  setting up my trusty hammock and breathing in the space around me.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article, if you have any questions or comments please free feel to leave a comment below.

Cheers and keep making photos :)


  • Nikon D800
  • Nikon 12-14 f2.8
  • Nikon 24-70 f2.8
  • Nikon 70-200 f2.8
  • Manfrotto tripod
  • Heliopaan 12 stop Neutral density filter


Bell Let's talk day #bellLetsTalk

Bell Let's talk day #bellLetsTalk

As a child growing up, I was very fortunate to have a parent who worked in the Mental Health field. My Mom, retired now, worked as a mental health practitioner in many communities in Nova Scotia. Growing up, she instilled the importance of understanding that anyone can suffer from mental health issues and the importance of removing that stigma of mental illness so everyone can feel confident in seeking support when needed.  

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Fresh snowfall hike on the Blue Mountain Wilderness trails

As soon as I saw the fresh snowfall in the early morning hours, I quickly packed up my gear and run out the door to catch the sunrise.

Fox Lake Trail, Blue Mountain Wilderness trails

I get such a charge hiking in freshly fallen snow.  There is a special stillness in the air that is very unique to a fresh snowfall.

All you can hear is your footsteps and the snow falling from the trees as the sun begins to rise.

As the sunrises on the trail

Coyote Bog, Blue Mountain Wilderness Trails. Nova Scotia

The Blue Mountain Wilderness Trails are my goto place to explore our natural world.  

Some much amazing accessible wilderness is found all within the city limits of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Beautiful trails through quiet forest, along lakes and stunning look-offs.  

All this wilderness within the city limits of Halifax, Nova Scotia

So the next pretty winter morning get outside and grab your winter coat, a pairs snowshoes and of course your camera.

To find more information about the trails in the Blue Mountain Wilderness system checkout the links below.

Cheers and keep making photos :)


  • Nikon D800
  • Nikon 14-24 / 24-70 / 70-200
  • Drone - DJI Inspire I

7 Simple Composition Techniques to improve your Photography

I love the sceince & emotion of photographic compostion. For some, composition comes naturally. But for most (myself included), good photography composition is a learned skill. Just like any learned technique such as the technical side of exposure ( Shutter Speed Aperture, ISO), you can learn and apply composition rules to your photography. It takes awareness, practice and real effort to create an engaging photograph.

Rule of Thrids - Peggy's cove, Nova Scotia

When you apply good composition to your photography you create visual interest in your photos.  It helps to lead the viewer through your image and adds to telling the story you want to express.

Remember,  as a photographer you have complete control of every visual element in the frame of your camera; what you shoot, time of day, distance to subject, camera settings, camera type and of course composition.

Leadng lines - McCabe Lake, Nova Scotia

When you apply specific composition techniques within a photograph you are creating visual interest within your photo. Think back to the time you saw a particular photo and said “Wow that is a great photo”. Now, try and analyze why you think it is a “wow” image. Usually, there is at least one composition principle being used in the photo.

A strong subject matter can have a lot to do with the interest of the photo.  However, a strong subject matter and poor composition may create less engagement with the viewer.

From a scientific point of view, when we use compelling composition in our photography it actually creates more activity in the brain for the viewer. This increased brain activity increases the subconscious feeling of connection and interest within your photograph.

With just a bit of effort and planning, you can dramatically improve your own photography with these simple techniques.  

The amazing concept I love about composition, is that you do not have to have a particular type of camera or expensive gear. Any type of camera can create a beautiful image. Composition is not based upon technology. The best camera you have is your mind’s eye. The physical camera is simply an extension of what you see and want to create.

Below are 7 short composition techniques that will improve your photography.

(1) Define the main subject with your photo
Try and show a clear main subject in the photo and this does not mean it has to be a person. It could be a mountaintop, coastline, flower or even how the light is sweeping across a room. So before you start snapping away, think about what is the main subject you are trying to photograph and how the subject is interacting with all the other visual elements within your frame.

(2) Rule of Thirds (Move it from the middle)
When you look in the viewfinder, imagine there are lines dividing the frame in the section. Two horizontal and two vertical line placed a third of the way into the frame. For example, when you are photographing a landscape try and place the horizon on one of this horizontal lines.  When you place the horizon on these lines you are creating visual interest in your photos. 

If your subject is in the middle try and place the subject slightly to the right or left under one of these lines. Placing the main subject, horizon etc, to the left or right you will create a stronger, more deliberate visual tension in the frame.

(3) Points of Interest
Adding to the technique of the “Rule of Thirds” comes the technique of where these lines intersect.  Believe it or not we have a natural tendency to look to where these virtual lines intersect and if you place your main subject under one of these intersecting points you will create a stronger composition and interest in your image.  


(4) Fill the frame
You can never get too close. When I am teaching my photo workshop, one of the most common challenges I see is that the student’s main subject is never large enough in the frame.  When you fill the frame with your intended subject you keep the viewer's eye within your image. This technique creates an instant connection between the viewer and the subject in your photo. 

So the next time you are taking that photo, take the time and really ask yourself if you can get closer to the subject. 

(5) Leading lines
This is still one of favorite composition techniques. Having a line or path in your photo leads the viewer through the photograph.

This creates motion and structure with your photo and create more interest within your image.

(6) Shapes & Patterns
I am always looking for recognizable shapes and repeating patterns within the frame of my camera.  

McCabe Lake, Nova Scotia

These shapes and patterns become something a viewer can subconsciously relate to when they are viewing your images.   

(7) Look for Unique Angles
When I am teaching my photography workshops,  I am always saying “ If you are not crawling on the ground or trying to climb that tree you are not pushing yourself to find the unique perspectives with your photos.”  Remember if we only photograph from eye level we only end up with photography that everyone can see with their own eyes.


You do not need to have all of these techniques within every photo you create.  You may one apply one or two techniques and of course you do not have to follow these rules all the time. That's the beauty of photography,  you can break them anytime you want. However, as I said in my last post, you want to break the rules with intention instead of by accident. When you break the rules by accident you won't clearly know why your image is successful. But when you plan and make the effort to create your photograph, you will naturally start to look for composition in your own photography.

Bluff Wilderness Trail, Halifax Nova Scotia

So let me state this again; anyone can learn to take beautiful photographs.  You do not need to be born with this skill. However, it does take a commitment of time, effort and a lot of practice to make this a natural instinctive reaction when you are using your camera. So with the holidays near there are so many opportunities to practice these techniques.  Think about how you can try to apply just a one of these techniques the next time you are using your camera. 

Remember to push yourself to think about what you are seeing in the frame before you take the snapshot and try and make it a photograph.

Cheers & keep making photos.  :)