Visual Narrative #003



When I combined photography and wilderness guiding to make a living, I learned how to use perspective to tell a story, to convey a feeling, and to grab the attention of potential clients. Below are short stories on how I used my camera to express the power of my outdoor experiences.

Toward the Chute: Marketing my adventures through photography was part of my business. During our daily travels, I could often be found at the rear of the group; constantly anticipating where every canoe would be in relation to each other and the landscape. I would habitually be repositioning myself for my next photographic composition. Made with film in 1989, this image has generated more income than any other image I have ever made.

The Grassland Landscape: Our usual perceptions of grasslands are open, undulating areas where gentle winds blow and great seas of grass stretch for kilometres. To challenge this preconception, I positioned my friend Mike to make a new vision that was impossible to forget. I sought a perspective where few had ever explored.


The Hiker; Rainbow Volcano: When hiking into the core of the Rainbow Volcano, I dropped behind my friend Mike, and with two camera bodies and two focal-length lenses swinging from my shoulders, I scrambled up and down the loose volcanic slopes. I was seeking perspectives that would reveal forces of scale. This image is completely representational, yet the tiny human hiker is an abstraction which challenges the viewers’ perception; are we really that small, or is the Rainbow volcano really that large?

Out to Pasture: Over the past twenty-five years, while photographing the three volcanoes of the Anahim Volcanic Belt, I have travelled by horse on many occasions. Every night on each trip, I have tried to capture the essence of our closest friends, the horses, enjoying their evening while out to pasture. The mountain landscape, the verdant pasture, and the colour and placement of horses all had to align.  This was my the only successful perspective in twenty-five years.

The Element of Space in the Grasslands:  To capture the elements of space and light in the grasslands, I overturned conventional views by aiming my camera upwards toward the heavens. This perspective was chosen to generate the sense of freedom one experiences in the open grassland landscape.


Ski Touring in Bowron Lake Park: I was pulling up the rear, seeking perspectives that would capture the essence of our expedition, when I saw an overhanging tree, a kilometer ahead. I knew the tree well from summer canoe trips, but now it called to me for a different reason. I asked everyone to take a break while I slogged ahead in wet snow. I set the track I wanted them to follow before circling around to set up my composition beneath the tree. I yelled for the leading three skiers to start moving. The remaining two followed minutes later. My last task was to capture the dynamic sense of movement by clicking the shutter when the skiers’ legs were separated. I got two out of three!  Success.

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