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Take Your Best Shot

If you’ve ever had to endure a staged photo shoot you know that grins can quickly turn to grimaces, especially when little ones are involved. Today’s amazing smartphone cameras make it easier than ever to catch captivating candids while your family is out having fun. Plan an outing to these parks, trails, gardens and conservation areas for snap-worthy scenic backdrops that are sure to make your family smile.

Grand River

The SC Johnson Trail runs 14 kilometres between Paris and Brantford through farm fields and rare prairie grasslands with several scenic vistas overlooking the Grand River. For a fun outing and a great action shot, bring your bikes along and go for a pedal on the packed gravel trail. 

Royal Botanical Gardens

Canada’s largest botanical garden has endless options for scenic backdrops. Let little ones run and climb on the amazing play structure to get their wiggles out and then head to Hendrie Park's Rose Garden. There you’ll find reflecting ponds, beautiful iron gates, fountains, bridges, and acres of incredible flowers and plants that make great backdrops for group photos.

Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area

Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area in Milton is home to five spectacular lookouts that offer some of the best Niagara Escarpment views. Hike to Buffalo Crag Lookout, Nassagaweya Lookout, Nelson Lookout, Pinnacle Lookout or Trafalgar Lookout for a picture-perfect perch. Watch for turkey vultures soaring in the sky.

Limehouse Conservation Area

The deep rock fissures and crevasses of the Niagara Escarpment create interesting nooks and crannies to explore and great backdrops for photos at this easy-to-access park just east of Acton. There are wooden ladders, a restored stone arch bridge, old lime kilns and pretty tree-lined trails that will make your pictures look like you discovered another little world.

Quick Tips for Better Smartphone Pics

Want to snap a smartphone pic that’s worthy of prime holiday card placement? Here are three easy things you can do to score a better shot on your next outdoor adventure.
1. Take a turn
Most of us tend to keep our phones in the vertical position to take pictures simply because that is how we’re used to holding them. Turning your phone to take pictures from the landscape perspective will allow you to capture more background, which is especially important when you have great scenery to share. 
2. Think in thirds
Photographers use what’s referred to as “the rule of thirds,” to enhance the composition of their pictures. It’s actually a trick from Renaissance painters that has stood the test of time. Simply put, it involves dividing the picture in your frame into a nine-box grid and then setting up your shot so that the placement of the main subject falls where the lines intersect on either the left or right third of the frame. For a visual guide, go into your phone’s camera settings and ensure that the “grid” preference is turned on.

3. Shoot for the “golden hour”
Just before and just after the sun sets is the perfect time to capture outdoor photos as the light is softer. If your travels have to be mid-day when the daylight is strongest, wait until the sun goes behind the clouds to soften and diffuse the light for better photos.
Don’t keep your great shots to yourself. Share your favourite photos on social media using #NatureUnexpected and be sure to include the location details in the comments.

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