About Randy Vanderveen

 Grande Prairie Alberta photographer Randy Vanderveen is an award-winning photographer with two decades of experience. Editorial photography, commercial photography, institutional photography, aerial photography, documentary and humanitarian photography — whatever your photographic needs are in the Peace River Country of northwestern Alberta and northeastern British Columbia or beyond I can help. The right licensing package can make custom photography affordable and extremely effective whether you are a national corporation, a local business or a non-profit or NGO. I would like to sit down and talk with you about how I can meet your photographic needs. Call (780) 897- 6478 or email me for a quote on a job or licensing fees for photos. Feel free to check out the weekly Viewfinder blog.



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History up in Smoke

Photo Randy Vanderveen Sexsmith, AB Firefighters from Sexsmith, the County of Grande Prairie, City of Grande Prairie and Teepee Creek battle a fire that destroyed a historic Catholic church and the old Frontier Lumber Yard in downtown Sexsmith early Wednesday evening. Ironically the fire, which occurred across the street from the Sexsmith Fire Hall, took out the two old building which were being restored two and a half days before the County of Grande Prairie's county fair, the final celebration of the summer of the 100th anniversary of the surveying of the county. Firefighters managed to prevent a nearby automotive shop and the historic Paszkowski house from incurring too much damage from the flames. Yesterday was a reminder to take photos when the opportunity arises. The Peace Country, unlike most places around the world, has a very short history — approximately 100 years. Old buildings don't last, they tend to be replaced by new ones whether it is a grain elevator or a church.

The Sexsmith Museum society, like similar society's throughout Alberta, has been working on trying to preserve some of that history, unfortunately Wednesday evening they were dealt a big blow. Two of the buildings they were refurbishing, a lumber yard building and a Catholic church were destroyed by a fire while a third building, an old house, sustained some damage.

I have driven by the buildings numerous times as Rob Ganzeveld, a good friend of mine, used to have his office less than a block from this site, but I never stopped to take photos.

Often, it is our photos that will be the archive of the past and not the actual artifact. In this case only photos before the fire will bear witness to these buildings.

I feel for the museum society as it is an irreplaceable loss. If you rebuild, it is a reconstruction it is not a part of the history.

However, there is a lesson here for myself and others. Make sure you document things with your camera. Whether it is the house you were born in, your first car, an old building on downtown main street or most important your family and friends.

Changes can happen quickly and then it can be too late.


Countdown to Rwanda

A young Rwandese boy herds cattle near the Gary Scheer school in Rwanda. It is hard to believe it won't be very long until my wife, Cheryl, and I return to Rwanda with a team from McLaurin Baptist Church and Webster Community Church.

We were last there in February 2008. Although we were only there a short time we are both anxiously looking forward to seeing the friends we met and meeting new people.

The team will be in Butare district in southern Rwanda where Webster and McLaurin are partnered with a rural church in the area.

Things are coming together as a team although at this time, in addition to some funds we are still short, we are in need of plenty of prayer.

But at least, the countdown is underway.A view into one of the many green valleys in Rwanda — the land of a thousand hills.


An excellent read

I have been a fan of Matt Mendelsohn since first hearing him speak at a workshop four or five years ago and am a regular reader of his blog

This week, an article featured on Sportsshooter.com, "The Lessons of Lindsay" once again showed me why I admire his work so much. Take ten to twenty minutes out of your day to read the article, you won't be disappointed. If you aren't a sports fan and think the sportsshooter site is all about sports— break that stereotype. This is just great journalism. Something that should be done more often. Matt thanks for the wonderful story.



Adapt — lesson from a goat

Photo Randy Vanderveen Grande Prairie, AB Aug. 6/09 Goats, from the Rocky Ridge Ranch near Beaverlodge, hungrily target tansy in a field near Bear Lake northwest of Grande Prairie. The goats, which used to be used to control growth in forestry cut blocks, have been trained to target the noxious weed which has become a problem in the Grande Prairie area. Although the weed is poisonous, it doesn't affect the goats as long as it remains less than 20 per cent of the animals' daily diet. This past week was busy — nothing spectacular but relatively busy.

I did come across a unique photo opportunity. While driving the backroads north of Grande Prairie, I came across Conrad Lindblom, who operates Rocky Ridge Ranch near Beaverlodge, herding a flock of goats on horseback.

I took some photos and got a little information from him.

The past few years the goats have been used in forestry cut blocks in BC to control vegetation. This year, because the forestry industry has been slow, Lindblom trained his goats to eat tansy — a noxious weed that is becoming a real problem in the South Peace.

The animals are targetting the weed — although it has to remain less than 20 per cent of their diet to prevent the weed from becoming toxic— and are being used to clear ditches, fields and even the local ski area of the plant.

Lindblom said the goats offer the best option for weed control after spraying.

After, I thought to myself if goats can adapt to a changing marketplace perhaps I better look at adapting too— it won't kill me. Whether it is a new type of service or learning a new technique, any time I stretch myself in my business or personal life it is likely to benefit me.

Although, unlike the goat, it will probably take me a bit longer to make those adaptations. But a work in progress is better than stagnation.

One of the many humurous comics put out daily on the What the Duck blog. 


100 Flags

Photo Randy Vanderveen Grande Prairie, Alberta, Aug. 2/09 Vanessa De Jesus dressed as the Queen of the Congo dances as members of Aché Brasil, a Vancouver-based Brazilian dance group provided some of the entertainment at Grande Prairie's 100 Flags multicultural festival at Muskoseepi Park Sunday, Aug. 2.

I had the opportunity this weekend to take in the 100 Flags celebration on Sunday with my wife, Cheryl; youngest daughter, Ami; and mother-in-law as part of the Heritage Day long-weekend festivities in Grande Prairie, Aug. 2.

It was good to see the examples of the variety of cultures in Canada both in the form of performances and food.

It also re-emphasized the blessings we have in Canada. I guess having spent time reading blogs by humanitarian and mission photographers over the past few weeks also drilled that home.

We have so much and along with those blessings also comes an obligation. "…Much will be required from everyone to whom much has been given. But even more will be demanded from the one to whom much has been entrusted." Luke 12:48B NIV

31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." Matthew 25:31-46 NIV

Kind of interesting that in the passage Christ talks about doing — feeding, giving clothes or drink, visiting — not giving so someone else can do these things.

Sometimes giving is essential — for things happening on the other side of the globe, but, we can also DO here. Whether it is helping cook a meal for a soup kitchen, visiting someone who is sick or elderly and is shut in, driving a senior to appointments or even just listening to someone who needs someone to talk to .

After all "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27 NIV

If you are interested in looking at some of the blogs I was referring to there are links at the bottom of this post.

Grande Prairie, Alberta Furmiga dances for the crowd as members of Aché Brasil, a Vancouver-based Brazilian dance group provided some of the entertainment at Grande Prairie's 100 Flags multicultural festival at Muskoseepi Park Sunday, Aug. 2. The festival is to celebrate the mosaic of cultures that make up the fabric of Canadian society.David DuChemin's Pixelated Image blog http://www.pixelatedimage.com/blog/

Matt Powell's blog http:/blog.mattpowellphoto.com/

Gary S. Chapman's More than the Moment blog http://garyschapman.com/blog/