Meet Erin McCarthy Greene, Photographer

By: Susan W. Smith

Volume 19, Issue 4, April 2024

It is great fun to start the season off by interviewing Erin McCarthy Green, (Wellesley Island).  Erin and I met while we both served on the board of the Thousand Islands Land Trust (TILT). Of course, she was a great board member with wise advice and community member. Then, once I joined as Editor of TI Life, I wrote to Erin often when I requested her photographs, and in December 2020 she won two Honourable Mentions in our annual Photo Contest. In 2023, she won our Gold Medal and two more honourable mentions. Yes indeed, it was high time to introduce her as a photographer to our TI Life community.

I started by asking questions, and of course I am delighted with the answers – just as you will be delighted with her photographs.

Thanks Erin, for all you do for our Thousand Islands community as an TI Sun editor, photographer, and as an Islander!

"Mama Merganser and her Brood" by Erin McCarthy Greene, Gold Award Winner ©2023

When did you become fascinated with photography?

As I approach 70, my photography has become a "vehicle" to explore what I can still learn and be proficient in at this late stage in life, a way to keep the old neurons firing.

I started my photography journey seriously in 2018, when two things happened. First, my managing editor at the Thousand Islands Sun newspaper, where I've been an editor for more than a decade, encouraged me to contribute River-area photos to the paper. Second, my younger daughter, who was living in Belgium at the time, started a blog, and her accompanying photography was a huge inspiration for me (

My mother was a professional wedding and portrait photographer, but not one of us five kids ever followed in her footsteps. Finally having a work incentive, and watching my daughter pick up a camera to express herself the way her grandmother used to, moved me, literally and emotionally. I bought my first DSLR and started taking photography more seriously, both as an exploration of myself as an artist and as an homage to Mom.

"Two Geese Happen" by Erin McCarthy Greene, Bronze Award Winner ©2023

Do you have any professional education in photography?

Yes, classes/workshops with Chris Murray (, Emma Davies of A Year With My Camera (, and Laura Valenti of Light Atlas Creative (, as well as lots of other learning options, have shaped the way I pay attention to the light, and allow light and shadows lead me to find and compose images.

Classes have also reinforced for me the meditative aspects of photography. I find genuine, deep joy in being alone to think and observe and create. I hope that others enjoy what I capture, but, honestly, I go through that quiet, mindful process mostly for myself. Whether I am sitting alone by the River, walking along one of the local trails, or soaking up the events that take place in River communities every summer, I look for images to either share with an audience or just to soothe my soul. The time I spend photographing becomes both an escape from a noisy world and a revelation.

My favorite subjects are . . . everything. The images I send to the T.I. Sun are event images, wildlife, landscapes, street photography, weather scenes . . . pictures someone who is reading the paper far from the River might want to see, to remind them of this place they love. I spend a lot of time poking around Thousand Island Park, where my husband, Dick, and I live year-round, looking for scenes that will "bring people back" to the Park for a moment.

When we travel, I write about those experiences and accompany the pieces with photos. This past summer, I took portraits for two high school seniors, and I was asked to photograph a cottage interior before the cottage was opened to guests for the Thousand Island Park Landmark Society Cottage and Garden Tour.

Being accepted as an affiliate member of The Tilly Project was a huge step for me; documentary legacy/end-of-life pet photography is incredibly emotional but so rewarding. I'm honored to be part of the Tilly Project group. I don't charge for a local Tilly Project legacy pet session. It's a privilege to give pet parents the gift of vivid, if bittersweet, memories.

Photograph by Erin McCarthy Greene, ©2024

I still use the Nikon D3400 DLSR I started with in 2018, but I've added a Nikon Z50 mirrorless camera to my kit, and I take full advantage of Nikon's free NX Studio post-processing software, which has kicked up my creativity. I also regularly use an editing app called Snapseed on my phone and Chromebook, especially to create multiple exposures, although Nikon's cameras have an in-camera overlay option that works nicely.

Through the courses I've taken, I developed an Instagram page,, and a webpage,

What advice do you give to other photographers?

All of this happened very gradually, layer by layer. I think if I were to advise someone who thinks they want to step into photography, I'd tell them to jump into as many courses as their time and budget can handle, then stick with it, make it part of their lifestyle. Every course or workshop I've taken, every teacher I've encountered, has encouraged me to stretch my skills technically and creatively.

The technical side of photography was the most daunting at first, but A Year With My Camera provided the baby steps someone my age needs to gain skills and confidence . . . now the technical stuff is all automatic. I just know how to adjust for most circumstances. Taking courses also allows me to become part of photography communities made up of people from around the world who are like-minded, kind, and supportive. And how fortunate are we that the Thousand Islands is full of super creative and generous artists of all kinds? The River community is amazingly supportive of the arts and artists.

For any creative endeavor someone wishes to pursue, no matter their age, they should just do it. We never know what we are capable of doing until we push ourselves to find out. I think my mother would be pleased.

Photograph by Erin McCarthy Greene, ©2024
Photograph by Erin McCarthy Greene, ©2024
Photograph by Erin McCarthy Greene, ©2024

Now, as we start Summer 2024, I am looking forward to finding Erin out on the River, capturing more amazing memories.

By Susan W. Smith, Editor,

P.S.  This has to be one of my all-time favourites!

Header by Photograph by Erin McCarthy Greene, ©2024

Posted in: Volume 19, Issue 4, April 2024, Artists, Photography

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