New Brunswick

First-time night photographer's shot of photogenic Hopewell Rocks lands on stamp

Kevin Snair's beginner photo makes its way onto a Canada Post stamp commemorating the rocks

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Canada Post chose Kevin Snair's night-time picture of Hopewell Rocks for a stamp for its 'From Far and Wide' series. (Canada Post)

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A New Brunswick photographer didn't have to look far to find his muse. In fact, he found it where he works.

Kevin Snair is a guide at the Hopewell Rocks and the photographer behind Canada Post's new stamp commemorating the site in its "From Far and Wide" stamp series.

Snair told Information Morning Moncton the park was contacted by Canada Post because the Crown corporation wanted to feature the rocks on a stamp.

When Canada Post sent along a couple of stock photos, Snair sensed an opportunity.

"They were OK," he said of the stock shots. "They were kind of your typical kind of shots.

"I contacted them and said, 'If you have to choose one of these, I like this one, but if you're open to some other ideas here's a couple others to take a look at."

Those others included his own work, and Canada Post ultimately chose one of his pictures for the stamp design.

Beginners luck

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Kevin Snair's picture that inspired this stamp was the first he'd taken of the rocks at night. (Canada Post)

The stamp, which shows the rocks lit up under a night sky, was released this month.

Snair now offers workshops on night photography and has even published a book of photos taken at Hopewell Rocks.

But when he took the nighttime picture that inspired a stamp, he was far from a pro.

"This was actually the first night that I really did any successful night photography at all," he said.

Snair learned about night photography several years ago from a man writing a magazine article on the subject.

The man was at the rocks to photograph them for an article and Snair, as a guide, accompanied him that night.

The veteran photographer showed Snair the ropes of night photography, but then nature decided to be unco-operative.

"At the last minute, the fog rolled in and he doesn't get a single shot," Snair said.

The photographer was flying out the next day but found a saving grace in Snair, who said he'd take a photo and send it along.

"He was a little nervous but he said 'OK, sure. I trust you.'"

Snair snapped the photo a week later.

Tricks of the trade

In the photo, the rocks are lit up brightly.

They give the impression that high-powered professional lighting must have been used, but the equipment was a bit more rustic, Snair said.

"I use a very small little camp lantern down on the beach," he said.

"You'd almost not be able to tell it's on, but of course your camera is very sensitive to light and that just adds a little bit of detail into the rocks, so they're not just silhouettes against the beautiful sky."

The quality and setting of the photograph have led many people to question Snair about the photo's authenticity, but no trickery and certainly no Photoshopping were involved, he said.

"Especially back when I first started doing night photography, they certainly questioned it a fair bit," he said.

"But now I'm maybe a little bit better known for that."

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