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Technical ability, check.  Necessary equipment, check.  Regional information about the landscape and sunrise and sunset direction and time?  Wait, what? If the last point threw you a bit of curve ball, it shouldn’t have.

Trapp Lake photographed south of Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada at sunrise

I think we’ve all been guilty of yearning for a locale that offers cascading waterfalls, eternal rainbows and majestic elk running through meadows at the base of towering mountains.  If you haven’t then you might want to dream more!  But alas, for most of us, this is not reality.  What is reality however, is regardless of where you do live, there are most definitely jewels there for you to experience and capture.  With a bit of research and scouting these locations, and thus what they can offer you photographically become very apparent.  I live in the Thompson Okanagan region of British Columbia.  Some love the country here, some not so much.  Whatever your opinion there are some amazing landscapes within thirty to forty five minutes from my driveway.  Some of those include hike in time.  That’s pretty accessible, and I’d be willing to bet that most of you are in the same situation.  These gems can be approached in so many different ways; from time of day, perspective, time of year, using a human element and so on.  When we’re forced to really examine how to maximize regional locales, the results can be astonishing; it can also make you a stronger photographer because we’re forced to exercise our creativity to maximize results.  The reality of it is that if we approach a certain locale on different days, the final products, comparably can be like night and day, and that’s where the challenges come into play.

Canyon lands are photographed at sunset, just east of Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada

With those challenges, comes an element of photography that is not spoken of often enough: Hard work! I can’t stress enough how this simple element of life, not just photography is overlooked when people are exploring ways to really make a jump with the quality of their craft.  I know when people see something that I’ve done in the region and contact me to find out how to get there, they’re quite shocked when they find out for example that I had to actually hike in 30 minutes with my gear an hour before sunset to ensure I would have ‘an opportunity’ to capture something  I’m happy with.  Yes, an opportunity, nothing more.  On more occasions that I can remember I’ve spent three to six hours in the field with nothing more to show that an iphone shot to document my outing.  In order to give yourself a chance for success, the work has to play a major role.  I can honestly say, there has only been a few situations throughout my career that I’ve slid out of my truck, set up and taken an image I was truly happy with.  Truth be told, there is something that makes a truly powerful image that much rewarding when you’ve put the time and work into it. This simple element of photography can surely separate an amateur from a pro, talent laden or not; of that there is no doubt.

Sun Peaks and two hikers at sunrise enjoy the wildflowers on a stunning morning, British Columbia, Canada

By putting to test the two aforementioned elements of this article I can virtually guarantee improvements in the quality of your imagery.  Taking advantage of what your region has will not only produce strong results, it will also stretch your creative vision that will transcend to other elements of your work.  After that, put in the time and effort, make a few sacrifices and watch as push yourself to the next level.

To see more of my work, go to my portfolio page here


From very early on, Kamloops-based photographer Kelly Funk has utilized the environment - both natural and urban - to accentuate the strengths of his professional photographic career, forming a unique, fresh perspective and high-end product.