APC Featured Photographer of the Month – Michelle Cleland

APC Featured Photographer of the Month – Michelle Cleland

Looking for some photographic inspiration? Well, look no further than the current members of the Ajax Photography Club. Each month a different APC member will be featured and we will provide a glimpse into their photographic life.

This month, the featured photographer is APC member, Michelle Cleland.


Last year I made an important decision to join the Ajax Photography Club. Becoming a member of this group has had such a positive impact on my photography in many ways. I have enjoyed learning about many different styles of photography from so many of the talented members. The speakers at our monthly meetings have been so inspirational and the weekly educational sessions have been outstanding. I have a deeper understanding of exposure techniques, composition, and developing my own photographic style.

I am a nurse and I currently work part-time in an intensive care unit. My other love is teaching. Twenty years ago I started a nursing education company and it is still going strong. I have a passion for teaching and I love learning and sharing what I have learned with others.

This year my two passions of teaching and photography came together for the first time. I was asked by the APC executive to facilitate a class on landscape photography. I had so much fun sharing what I have learned over the years of chasing the sun’s golden hour in an attempt to take that perfect landscape image. I have not achieved the perfect image yet but I have had lots of fun trying.

Photography is my meditation. It forces me to slow down and focus on what is literally in front of me. When I can become quiet in the moment my creative side can come out and play. I begin to see the scene in a new way. This allows me to capture images in ways that I might not have taken if I had not taken the time to slow down and be present in the moment. Photography has been great therapy for me. It heals my soul.

  • How would you describe your photographic style?
    If I could sum up my style in one statement I would say “I am drawn to capturing the beauty of this world.” This could be a beautiful sunset, a grand landscape, a waterfall, a beautiful animal or a small flower. I enjoy both capturing the moment with my camera as well as enhancing the beauty of the image with post processing methods. Looking at my portfolio I see that I have mostly landscape images with a few pictures of animals from the zoo included in the group. I post process my images by adding contrast and enhancing the colour of the scene. I like images that are bright, bold and colourful.
  • Which photographer is your biggest inspiration?
    Ansel Adams is, of course, a master of masters in the field of landscape photography. His tremendous eye for composition in the natural world is inspiring. For more contemporary inspiration I use Instagram for daily motivation. My Instagram feed is filled with many talented photographers that artfully capture beauty in nature. My two favourite Instagram photographers are Johan Lolos (@johanlolos) from Belgium and Argen Elezi (@argenel) from Toronto. APC was very lucky to have Argen come speak to us about his photography at our October meeting. His style of photography really speaks to me.
  • How long have you been interested in photography?
    I purchased my first point and shoot digital camera in 2004. I wanted to capture some memories on our first big trip to Hawaii. I am so grateful that my first opportunity to take pictures happened to be in one of the most beautiful places in the world. It is hard not to take a good picture in Hawaii. The beaches, palm trees, volcanoes, luscious vegetation and beautiful sunsets were awe-inspiring and I could not stop trying to capture it all with my camera. I was hooked.
  • What was your first camera?
    My first DSLR was a Nikon D90. I was at first intimidated with all of the functions of the camera. I initially stayed in automatic mode on the camera for more than a year until I felt a little more adventurous. I studied photography books and videos and eventually the technical side of photography began to sink in. I became more willing to take risks and learn new things.
  • What is your dream photo trip?
    I would love to travel to Africa to go on a safari. To capture many of the animals in their natural habitats would be a dream come true for me. I have travelled and photographed all across Canada from the east to the west coasts. To complete the experience I would like to travel to northern Canada and photograph the northern lights.

You can view more of Michelle’s work at https://500px.com/michellecleland and https://pictureserenity.smugmug.com/Art-Photos.

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