Week 25 – Sunsets & Silhouettes

silhouette of a boy standing in water
silhouette of a young child standing in water at sunset
silhouette of a teen standing in water at sunset
silhouette of three brothers standing in water at sunset

I taught my first workshop on Sunsets & Silhouettes photos about five years ago and since then have spent countless hours experimenting with different light, compositions and editing.  My kids are only too happy to help because the sessions take place as close to sunset as possible, which means later bedtimes. I love that they have their own ideas about what they want me to photograph.  Sometimes it’s action shots, like pretending the sun is a soccer ball, most recently they had me photograph them skipping rocks on Lake Huron. The only downside: I’m running out of wall space to display my favourite photos of them!

If you want to take your own silhouette photos you need to be in manual mode on your camera or using a camera app on your phone that allows you to adjust the exposure so that your subject is completely underexposed (dark).  It’s easiest when the source of light is directly behind the subject. 

Week 26 – Sunrise Adventure

brothers standing near a cliff looking over a lake
brothers standing on a rock looking at a lake
trees, cliffs and a lake

In early July we visited the Bruce Peninsula National Park and spent four days exploring the amazing landscape in and around Tobermory.

We first hiked to the Grotto around 5 pm and were quickly overwhelmed by the people and how unprepared visitors were for the rough terrain. The area is used by campers as well as daytime visitors who have to pre-book a parking time slot (8-12, 12-4, 4-8). This limits the number of visitors to the area, which is quite small and can be hazardous if you aren’t prepared. 

Much to our boys dismay we woke them up at 6 am the next morning to make the 1/2 hour trek back to the Grotto. Once we arrived, their grouchiness was quickly forgotten as the unspoiled beauty of the shoreline was breathtaking. 

We spent an hour enjoying the sunrise and serene turquoise water, as well as exploring the shoreline. It was well worth the early morning wake-up and I would highly recommend visiting the area during off-peak season or very early in the morning (or just before sunset). 

It’s our natural inclination to take photos of people close up but don’t forget to stand back and include the natural scenery.  It would have been difficult to capture the majesty of the gorgeous landscape if I’d stayed close to my boys and focused on photos where you could see their facial expressions. 

Week 27 – Behind the scenes

man working with a saw

On the hottest day of the Summer we trekked to Humble Barn in Chelsea to pick up reclaimed barn board for my 2019 Holiday Set.  My eldest helped me measure and choose wood that would work for our design, while my husband chatted with the owner’s dad, and my youngest and middle son met all the family dogs and made friends with the owner’s mom.   When I say that Sara McConnell Photography is a family business, I mean it with all my heart.

After an ice cream treat we headed home and my husband promptly started work on the first piece of furniture for my holiday set despite the 43 degree temperatures.  He worked all week and then spent the entire day on Saturday building my set. Words will never express how grateful I am for his support but also the support of my children.

This year I am building two brand new studio sets AND an outdoor set for Holiday Sessions. The colour palettes for the indoor sets will be grey and white with green accents. All the details will be released in September!

We are quick to take snapshots of our children with our phones and cameras but don’t forget to photograph your partner doing what he / she loves.  On a regular basis I try to get photos of my husband on his own, especially when we are camping, or when he’s doing something around the house or up at the cottage.  He’s not a fan of being in front of my lens but he tolerates it because he knows I love to have photos of him.

Week 28 – Rockstar Dreams

boy playing guitar outside at a party

My middle son has aspirations to be a rockstar.  He has a list of band names and elaborate plans for his dad and I to tour with him (we are apparently going to have our own RV).  He spends hours listening to music, on cassette tapes no less; has so many band and music-themed shirts that I’ve lost count; and this year started to write his own songs.  

This Summer we were invited to a cottage party, where musicians play live throughout the afternoon, and our friends invited him to ‘open’ for their band and even offered to join in on his performance.  He was initially reluctant to share the spotlight but the look on his face when they joined in on his song during sound check was priceless.  Watching him take the stage (or deck as the case may be) were two of the best minutes of the entire Summer.

Clients often ask me what I do with all the photos I take of our family.  There are dozens of images displayed around our home but I also print photos for the boys rooms.  Each of them has photos of themselves with just mom and dad and I also love to print photos of just them doing the activities they love the most.   You can bet this photo will be printed for my son’s room!