As a full time commercial and tourism photographer I've seen some amazing places in our province; let's face it British Columbia as a whole is really a magical place that we should all be proud of. The Thompson area has been my home most of my life however, Kamloops for the last 11 years. Our fair city has a lot going for it: Vibrancy, fantastic people, economic development, great weather which in turn leads to a healthy active lifestyle, and of course photographic opportunities that are unparalleled.

For an overview of the city centre, and the role that both the South and North Thompson rivers play in the sustainability of Kamloops, I've found no better place than at the end of Powers road; the Southeast part of the city. Here the two rivers meet and the view is spectacular. There really isn't a bad time to photograph here but if I had to choose I'd go with sunset and dusk. With a tripod and long exposures, traffic light patterns can be captured, giving the city a vibrant flow of life. The light source will be mostly behind you, making the contrast minimal and the need for graduated neutral density filters a non issue. Plan to be there a half hour before sunset until a half hour after for the most stellar light.

From this location on Powers road, easy and quick access to iconic hoodoo formations characteristic of the area can be found off of East Shuswap road. After driving by Sun Rivers golf course the hoodoos can be seen on the North side of this country-like road. Little traffic and wide open spaces make this an enjoyable area to sight see, regardless of whether or not you're carrying your camera. The best times for photography are in the early morning or late afternoon, just before sunset. The play of shadows off of the formations give more character to the images and intensify the density and colours. The use of a polarizer will help even more, and will help cut glare coming off the brightest clay pillars. Use a large number aperture, like f/11 or f/16 to make sure you create a sharp foreground and a sharp background. Tip: An easy way to remember what creative role the aperture plays is, 'A small number on your aperture equals a small sliver of focus, while a large number equals a large sliver of focus'.

A mere 15 minutes from East Shuswap road will take you into what is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful areas Kamloops has to offer; the 'Lac du Bois Grasslands protected area'. (see here for more information ) Easily accessed by the Halston connector and then Bachelor drive, the area goes from a sea of sagebrush to expansive grasslands, and finally dense forest as you drive North on a very good gravel access road. Prepare to want to make a full day of photography in this area, as the opportunities abound. In the spring, the area is literally covered by huge, yellow Balsam root flowers near Lac du Bois. The fall offers an amazing mixture of sweeping rust coloured Blue bunch Wheat grass mixed with pockets of Aspen and poplar trees. A tripod for early morning and late afternoon photography is beneficial and a polarizer is a must to accentuate colour and cut down on any glare coming from the water's surface. Graduated neutral density filters are highly recommended in both hard and soft versions. Please respect the area as it is very sensitive.

Kamloops lake, East of the city and backdrop to one of the most prestigious golf courses in Canada (Tobiano) creates stunning late afternoon images as the sun plays off the North mountains on highway 1. About 15 minutes East of Kamloops there is a large rest area on the right, before Savona. Most people stay in the picnic area that is provided but marked trails take you toward the lake for breath taking views and amazing photography. There's even a rock climbing area here called 'The beach'. Please proceed with caution as steep cliffs are prevalent. Unobstructed 180 degree views make this a photographers dream, whether shooting landscapes, sports or lifestyle imagery. The mornings, as seen in the shot here can produce very dramatic results, shooting West toward our city. Graduated neutral density filters are a must for sunrises. Here I used a 3-stop hard grad filter to cut the contrast and allow the foregound to not be under-exposed. Taken in manual mode, I actually over-exposed the scene slightly, once again to add more character to the sage.

Kamloops and the surrounding area is indeed full of photographic potential. With such a unique topography and the country's best weather it's hard not to want to capture the area's diversity and vibrancy while behind the camera.

~ Kelly Funk, Natural Wonders Photography


* If you are interested in a guided photography tour & workshop while in Kamloops, Kelly runs a variety of workshops aimed for beginners to advanced photographers. Check out the workshop dates and detials here.