Choosing to “staycation” (one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions) doesn’t always invoke an urge to photograph the environment around us. Yet when we travel far and wide, we tend to carry cameras with us everywhere we go. This doesn’t ring true for one man who is capturing the beauty he sees close to home.

We stumbled across Ian Virtue’s “The Windsor Project recently and were completely drawn into his photography. He seems to have a gift for drawing the viewer right into the frame. We knew we had to reach out to him and learn his story. 

About Ian

The Windsor Project by Ian Virtue

With a BA[H] in Digital Journalism, & Communications, Media, and Film, and 10 years of photography experience, Ian recently returned to his hometown of Windsor, the city centre of Essex County. 

“Earlier this Spring, I was forced to cancel a backcountry trip to Alaska’s Denali National Park due to COVID-19. Coupled with being stuck indoors for several months, reflection gave me the opportunity to see my hometown in a different light (no pun intended). Any place can be special. The streets of Windsor have hidden moments of beauty around every corner. For this reason I have started The Windsor Project.”

Each week Ian posts images from a different location across Windsor-Essex. “Everyone has that place that inspires them the most in our city,” he says.  “I encourage you to share those places in our hometown that are most special to you.”

Pelee Island Lighthouse photographed on a staycation with Pelee Island Winery by Ian Virture.

Ian and his fiancé Katie recently visited Pelee Island. They both had been once in the past for a short day trip. This time they did it “staycation” style with Ian photographing the natural beauty of the island every chance he could.

To assist you in creating your own staycation photo memories, he offers up these photography tips to capture a sense of the place you’re in. 

Ian’s “Staycation” Travel Photography Tips 

Layer Your Images

You want your eye to travel through the path of a picture. Try adding three interesting points, or “layers” to your photo. The easiest way to do this is find a captivating foreground, mid-ground and background. This helps draws the viewer in and creates a more dynamic and interesting photo. 


Photography is a 2-dimensional medium capturing a 3-dimensional world. Staggering your points of interest in an image helps add depth and contrast to your photos. Shooting in the early morning and late evening can also help add this dimension through the long shadows cast by the sun. 

Ian Virtue with fiancé Katie, capturing staycation travel photography and tasting seabuckthorn berries in the vineyards of Pelee Island Winery on Pelee Island, Ontario.
Ian and fiancé Katie taste seabuckthorn berries growing in the Pelee Island Winery organic vineyard on Pelee Island.

These tips are great starting points. As you develop in your craft it is always important to remember that rules are meant to be broken. Knowing when and how to break them is the most important – and fun – part.


Always think of how a photo can tell a story. It is so easy to take a photo of a marsh and call yourself a landscape photographer, but what makes photography so special is the ability to draw a person in and tell a story beyond what’s in front of your eye. Think about what you want your staycation travel photography to remind you of when looking back at it in the future.

In this time of limited travel, we hope you are able to see, and perhaps capture, the beauty that surrounds you. 


Follow along Ian’s “The Windsor Project” and on Instagram

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