SHOOT! at these 8 Photographic Gems in BC

You don’t need a degree to take decent photos, but a nice view certainly helps. Having a ritzy camera will also up your chances, but it’s the scenery that brings home the money shots. British Columbia is teeming with landscapes that are begging to be caught on camera, so we’ve pulled together a list of the top destinations so you won’t have to bore your friends with another mundane slide show. And to make the experience that much better, we recommend enlisting the help of such photo guides as Suzanne Rushton and Mark Unrau to not only take you to the best scenic spots, but to show you how best to use your camera when you get there.

1. Vancouver’s city skyline

Vancouver is a high achiever in many indices – quality of life, tourism, sustainable practices and food trucks. But it’s also a stunning city that’s easy on the eye. Vancouver’s landscapes are diverse, but its spectacular skyline is where it shines. The Granville Island side of False Creek is one of the best vantage points to see the city sparkle. Downtown’s distinctive skyrises rise up from the banks and reflect on the water, setting the stage for perfect photos. Sailboats and the Granville Bridge will also allow you to play around with your depth of field. Discover the city’s hidden gems on your own or join Suzanne Rushton from Vancouver Photowalks for a guided tour of the highlights.


2. Stawamus Chief, Squamish

Once you’ve had your share of the big smoke, shake up the scenery on your SD card at the Stawamus Chief in Squamish. Located about 60 clicks north of Vancouver, you won’t miss it – it’s the 700m sheer granite monolith on your right. It’s hard to spot a disappointing vista from any vantage point. Catch brag-worthy shots of rock climbers from ground level or lace up your hiking boots and snap your money shot from the top. The trails will induce sweating and a bit of groaning, but you will be rewarded with views of Squamish, Whistler and towering mountain peaks. You can also team up with experienced guides Jonathan Price or Mark Waldbillig from Sea to Sky Expeditions to find the best vantage points.

3. Northern Lights at Muncho Lake

For photos that will make your friends gasp, catch the dancing lights of the aurora borealis on your 20mm lens. Take in the solitude, scenery and the sights when pale green and pink lights dance on Muncho Lake from fall to spring. Experiment with your exposure and shutter speed and catch the light’s many forms; from arcs to rippling curtains and shooting rays. You don’t need an expensive set-up to catch the unfolding light show – any camera with a wide angle lens that can take long exposures should do the trick.


4. Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park

The Rocky Mountains hardly needs an introduction. A quick Google showcases dazzling peaks and lush mountain meadows that will make you want to book your tickets on the spot. Yoho National Park has all the elements of a quintessential Rockies experience –mountains, waterfalls and glacial lakes. But Emerald Lake is its claim to fame. Surrounded by towering mountain peaks, the deep emerald green water is a photographer’s delight. Capture its mesmerizing beauty from dozens of hiking trails or hike up the mountain for panoramic shots that will impress.


5. Whistler in winter

Whistler is a go-to for Canadians in winter, but it has also earned international acclaim for its powdery white snow and alpine skiing terrain. With impressive landscapes, textured snow and phenomenal light, Whistler is an obvious choice for avid photographers. Clip on your skis and capture untouched landscapes, action on the slopes or long exposure shots of babbling brooks. With an abundance of ski trails and landmarks, you will leave with riveting shots that make the ones in your existing photo album look like child’s play. Steve Clarke and Peter Smart from Extremely Canadian will introduce you to some of the best slopes, and Crystal Rose-Lee will take you on a backcountry adventure like no other.

6. Butchart Gardens, Victoria

The island town of Victoria may be smaller than its big sister, Vancouver, but it’s no shrinking violet when it comes to action, with restaurants, bohemian shops and craft breweries dotted along the sidewalks. Affectionately known as the ‘City of Gardens,’ Victoria also has its share of eye candy for photographers who want to capture bouquets and landscapes bursting with colour. The Butchart Gardens is a prime spot to set up your tripod, with fifty acres of floral finery to keep you entertained. June to September is the best time to catch the roses in bloom.


7. Okanagan Valley

A far cry from lush meadows and deep powder in the corners of BC, the Okanagan has the driest climate in the country. Cactus, sagebrush and desert-high temperatures are the norm in this arid environment, but it also has some of the most unique landscapes in the region. Okanagan Lake is a popular spot for photographers, especially at dusk when the sun dips behind the mountains and splashes colour over the water. Boutique vineyards are also great ammunition for any photographer, and with some top notch wineries in this area, you won’t struggle to find your share.


8. Southern Chilcotins

Aptly known as ‘wildflower heaven’, the Southern Chilcotins has its share of lush green fields. But it’s also home to some of BC’s most magnificent alpine terrain. With a variety of spectacular landscapes on display, you will return with enough photos to make a whole album – each photograph different from the next. And with most of the terrain barely touched by the human foot, you can rest assured your pals won’t have the same shots. With so much ground to cover, this region is best explored with an experienced guide. Kelly Kurtz from Sea to Sky Expeditions knows this place like the back of her hand – and she knows where to catch the best shots.

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