It's no secret that Canada is one of the world's most stunning countries — and that beauty by no means goes unnoticed, having earned itself a wealth of titles including its most recent: 'Travel and Leisure's 2017 Destination of the Year'. Lifestyle and adventure photographer, Ben is one of its many admirers, basing himself near Vancouver, British Columbia — one of Canada's most visited provinces.
Ben was first inspired by his Dad's 'habit of documenting everything' — from camping and skiing, to biking and hiking — and in the same way, is always ready to capture the perfect shot, carrying his camera everywhere he goes. "It’s always in the car with me," he said. "In my hands, or buried in my pack." Read on as we talk to Ben about his passion for photography, love for all things travel, and admiration for the planet we live on.
How did you first get into photography?
I have been hiking and spending time in the outdoors my entire life, but started didn't start bringing a camera along until my roommate at the time suggested I bring his well-used Canon T1i along. That was back in late 2015, around the same time I met my friends Dmitry and Yuri from Seattle who taught me everything I needed know about photography.
Where are you based?
I am based 45 minutes east of Vancouver, in Abbotsford BC Canada.
Is there a place you travel more than most?
Most of the trips I've made in the last two years have been road trips, and whenever I take a road trip we almost always end in the Banff Alberta region.
What kind of equipment do you take with you when traveling?
I typically travel with enough gear to camp and shoot and edit photos. I have all the backcountry camping essentials from water filtration to a compact stove. For camera gear, I travel with two Canon 6D camera bodies and three lenses; a 16-35mm f4, a 24-70mm f2.8, and a 70-200mm f2.8.
Do you have a favorite photograph? If so, where was it taken and what’s the story behind that shot?
My favorite photo that I've ever taken is of a guy fishing out of a canoe on a foggy morning in August on Bowman Lake in Glacier National Park, Montana. I was traveling solo through Glacier and had met two brothers the night before who were also photographers and we decided to meet up the next morning. Initially, it didn't look like it would be a very good morning, but then the fog rolled in and made everything look magical.
How has photography influenced you as a person?
Photography has had a huge impact on the amount of time I spend outdoors. I used to spend a lot of time outdoors before I was interested in landscape photography, but having this as a passion pushes me out the door and into the mountains on a daily basis.
Is there a photographer or artist out there who inspires you personally?
When I was in Montana a couple summers back I met Chris Burkard, who has been a world-renowned landscape and surf photographer for a very long time. His lifestyle inspires me because he does the most insane adventures, yet still manages to keep a stable family life with his wife and kids back home in California.
What motivates you to continue taking pictures?
My main motivation to continue taking pictures is that I love it capturing the beauty of nature and because I feel I can inspire people to get outside and do what they always wanted to do.
Is there something you always ask yourself or think just before you push the button?
To be completely honest, there is actually nothing I am thinking about when I am shooting. At least nothing that can be written down. I am just there experiencing the moment, usually with friends.
What do you think is the hardest thing about taking photos?
The hardest thing about taking photos is that you can be happy with your work one day, and unhappy with it the next. But this is also the same thing that continuously pushes me to want to be better.
How did you first become interested in wildlife and landscape photography?
I first became interested in wildlife and landscape photography by going out on a hike with some friends from Seattle. It was the first time I had gone out with the intention of taking a good photo. We hiked up to Snow Lake overlook in Washington one weekend and ended up forming a group that hiked together almost every weekend that winter.
What are some of the tips you would give to a photographer who is just starting out?
I would say just shoot what you love and don't worry about what people think of you; don't be afraid to ask for help; and know when to listen to somebody who has a lot of experience. And never forget to enjoy it!
Would you say you see the world differently as a result of being a photographer?
In a sense yes I do, but only from an artistic standpoint. When I see mountains and lakes and trees, I now notice the shapes and textures and patterns in ways I was never able to before.