Nicolette McGraw, Photographer

My life is filled with love and laughter thanks to the amazing people I get to hang out with. As well as being awesome, they’re creative, talented, generous, and fun! I thought you might like to meet them so I’ve asked them to come and give us a behind-the-scenes look at what they’re passionate about. I have to warn you though – creativity is contagious!

My guest today is Nicolette McGraw, ace photographer. Nicolette quietly takes pictures of the outdoors and creates amazing prints from them. One of my favourite framed pictures is a collage of her kids. 

nicolette fallsNicolette, how did you become interested in photography? N: I first became interested in photography while living and working in the mountains at Manning Park Resort in 1978. I did a lot of hiking and wanted to capture the beauty of it all.


What do you love about it? N: I love that it forces me to really slow down, to take a deeper look at my surroundings. I once stalked what I thought was a crane for five minutes only to get close enough to realize it was a stump!


Nicolette flowerHaha. Sounds like something that happened to Vlad and me. We stopped and watched what we thought was a unique snake on the path – only to realize it was a plastic cobra. J What do you enjoy photographing? N: I mostly photograph landscapes and nature. I really love trees and am always on the look out for a new subject. If I can’t get outdoors, I give myself indoor photo assignments like shooting a store bought bouquet of flowers, or macro anything.


I love some of the winter scenes you’ve taken. What equipment do you use? N: For years I used an Olympus film camera that would still work if the battery ran out. I miss the camera but not film. I was lucky to get maybe one good shot out of a roll of 36 and I had to wait a whole week to find out if I got anything! Now I use a Nikon D700, a full frame digital camera that also works as an upper back and arms work out. My second lens was a wide angle to show wide mountain ranges, next was a macro lens to capture flowers and bugs up close. It’s important to note that I would never buy an assortment of lenses on a whim, better to see what you’re lacking first by taking many photographs of many different things.


black and white trees

A camera that works if the battery ran out – I need that! Is there a photo-editing program that you like to use? N: For years I used Picasa – a free online photo editing program, it met my needs for the most part. Recently I took a photoshop course at the college that enables me to have a wider range of editing options, giving me that little bit of pizzazz that I’ve been wanting. Since I started using digital, I noticed a much quicker learning curve.


Photo editing is an art in itself. What do you do with the photos you take? N: I hang prints around my home, sell photo cards, and offer enlargements for various charities that use them in auctions. I have also given several photo slide shows to garden clubs discussing how to best photograph your garden.

These days I also like to create abstract with my camera, it’s new and exciting. Recently, I joined the Kingston Camera Club and am learning a lot through them. The club has a show coming up at the Windows Gallery in April and I’m excited to be a part of that.


Nicolette sky with birdWow – congratulations! I know it’s not your first show, but it’s always cool to show off your work. Any advice for someone interested in becoming a photographer? N: If someone is interested in becoming a photographer, my biggest piece of advice would be to start taking photos! Don’t wait to save for a big expensive fancy camera. These days almost everyone has a cell phone that will take pictures. I just used one on my holiday last week. Joining clubs is a great way to make friends and learn new techniques. Most questions can also be answered on YouTube.


Nicolette mountainYour advice about not buying a wide selection of lenses is good, too. I would’ve thought you’d need to start with a whole array. If you had to pick a song to be your theme song what would it be? N: If I had to pick one song it would be All the Diamonds by Bruce Cockburn. It’s the one that especially pops into my head when I’m shooting near water on a sunny day.



What would you pick as a superpower? N: My super power would be a being that could change the natural lighting at will.

Chris Hadfield made a similar comment the other day – how he would want to control the light when taking pictures. What’s your favourite dessert? N: Favourite dessert would have to be ice cream or one of your specialties 🙂

I’m always happy to share! Thank you very much for sharing your love of photography with us Nicolette. I think everyone is interested in capturing precious moments at some point. If you would like to contact Nicolette, you can email her at And if you’re in Kingston, drop by the Kingston’s Photographic Club’s Exhibit at The Window Gallery! April 1-26, More details HERE.