Snapshot: Go where the wild things are

Good things come to those who wait and photographer Ken Gillespie knows this firsthand. He has patience in spades. He needs to.

6 questions for local Instagrammer @ken_gillespie

(Ken Gillespie)

Good things come to those who wait and photographer Ken Gillespie (@ken_gillespie) knows this firsthand. He has patience in spades. He needs to. Trying to capture a special wildlife moment -- one that makes you gasp -- takes time. Unlike a rugged mountain or a stoic monument, those pesky critters around us just don't sit still! So patience becomes your virtue.

For this week's Snaphot profile, Ken shares a few of his favourite photos and tell us how he captures a winning shot.

What's your secret? How do you capture a great wildlife photo? A lot goes into getting a good shot. It's obviously important to understand your camera and the technical aspects of photography, but I think studying other photographers and other visual art forms and artists is even more important.  

I concentrate a lot on backgrounds and composition, and usually want as simplified a photo as possible. Most importantly is being patient and putting in the time to get what you're after. Equipment helps, but doesn't hinder, we've all seen stunning images captured on smartphones.

What wildlife shot is your favourite?

This moose in motion came out of the trees behind me just as I was setting up my tripod in Jasper. All my camera settings were off, but by sheer fluke, I snapped a panning image and ended up liking it. At first I was torn, but it's since grown on me.

(Ken Gillespie)

Tell us about your other favourites from your feed?

This American White Pelican took more than a few failed attempts to get everything right. So it's a favorite just for the time put in.

(Ken Gillespie)

Coastal B.C. on Vancouver Island is a stunning rugged landscape, and has far less tourist traffic than Banff or Jasper. This is shot from the Wild Pacific Trail near Pacific Rim National Park.

(Ken Gillespie)

I'm an animal lover and always appreciate a good horse shot. This is an intimate image of two quarter horses taken on the prairies.

(Ken Gillespie)

I love photographing the Badlands. This is one of my favourite's from the lesser known Writing-on-stone Provincial Park in southern Alberta. A little out of the way but a great place to explore.

(Ken Gillespie)

Zoo advocate or a staunch critic, this photo of a rescued polar bear swimming in Journey to Churchill is not something you capture on camera everyday.

(Ken Gillespie)

I've been walking through Assiniboine Park for years with my dogs. It's a favourite local destination.

(Ken Gillespie)

What are your three favourite places/things to shoot?

  • Lake Winnipeg -- Without a doubt! It has so much diversity, particularly for landscape photography. But for wildlife, Riding Mountain National Park is hard to beat.  
  • Coastal B.C. -- Stunning views of sea life and a rugged environment.
  • Badlands of Alberta -- I'm a sucker for textured rock formations.

Why do you love taking photos? The answer to this has evolved over the years. Like many photographers I love how a still image can freeze a moment in time, often evoking an emotional moment that would be missed otherwise. But after years of shooting, it has evolved into an attempt to capture a unique image both technically and artistically. Especially an image that really pulls in the viewer.

This can be highly subjective, of course, but as I get older I am lucky to shoot what I like and it really comes down to the simple enjoyment of heading out with my wife and dogs in tow, if I come away with a good image, it's a bonus. In the past I put a lot of pressure on myself to photograph everything around me and not miss a thing, which is of course impossible.I like to think I've become much more relaxed about being everywhere at once, and try to just enjoy the moment.

If "a picture is worth a thousand words," what story do you want your photos to tell? Hopefully an image that may be thought provoking or a memorable image that makes people simply happy to look at.


See Ken's photos featured on our Instagram feed this week.

Snapshot is a weekly series where we chat with local photographers to find out what goes into making an Insta feed look so darn good. Tag your photos with #lovecbcmb for chance to be featured. Previous features: