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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Photo Randy Vanderveen Near Debolt, Alberta, July 22/08 Dale Thompson (left) and Brian King (straw hat) talk to each other while getting ready to start their day on horse back at the North Goodwin Stock Improvement Association's lease.Late last week I had the opportunity to spend a day at the North Goodwin Stock Improvement Association's grazing lease with cowboys Dale Thompson, Brian King and Michael Dimion. It was an opportunity to see up close some of what a working cowboy does on a daily basis.

However, after I got home and was editing photos I saw these two photos and got to thinking.

Cell phone service can be spotty. Face it the cell phone companies are interested in being where the money is, and for clients Central Canada, the Eastern Sea Board and the West Coast are a whole lot more profitable markets than Wyoming or northern Alberta or the Yukon and Alaska. In fact in many places you might as well give up on trying to get service.

Where I live, the service can be spotty but a person still tends to have the phone on and counts on it being available and almost chained to it.Photo Randy Vanderveen Near Debolt, Alberta, July 22/08 Dale Thompson (background) and Michael Dimion answer calls and check messages on one of the few areas where cell service is available on the North Goodvin Stock Improvement Association lease where they were working. It is very unusual for the cowboys to actually receive any calls on their wireless phones while out on the grazing lease east of the Smoky River in the South Peace because service is so spotty.

It is too easy to become reliant on the cell phone (just so I am not picking on the cell companies) or social media like Twitter, Facebook or even just email. (Kind of seems to be a hypocritical post on a blog!)

Often I am guilty of emailing or telephoning instead of getting out and talking to people face to face. It is kind of funny as when I worked at the paper that was sometimes the complaint I had about reporters and yet in my business life I am guilty of the same thing.

As a newspaper photographer I had to get out and relate to people face to face — it is kind of difficult to take photos over the phone. But more than that I dealt with them personally, I could read their body language, would often spend more time with them than I would have if I was talking to them on the phone. Often talking to people face to face also provided more photo or story ideas.

While not everyone wanted to have their photos taken or were even glad to see me, it did form a relationship that while fleeting is far more personal than over the air waves or internet.

I think sometimes that spotty cell phone service is a reminder that we need to get unplugged and spend personal time alone with family, friends and faith. Electronic interruptions can not only take the precious time away from those who are important to us but can also rob us of creative inspiration.

I am not advocating we all toss away our cell phones and computers just saying maybe those we come in contact with would enjoy some face time rather than Facebooktime.

Just a thought.



Lessons from nature

Photo Randy Vanderveen, Grande Prairie, Alberta A baby American coot swims in Crystal Lake.

It is hard to believe it has been almost a week since I posted already. I have to say people that post to blogs on a daily basis definitely have to be dedicated to the process.

While I was out looking for photos this past week a couple of reminders came up as a result of the subjects I shot over the course of the week. First don't go out with pre-conceived ideas. (I am talking about photos for journalism, landscape or nature shots or just to exercise your eye and shutter finger— if you are shooting portraits, a wedding or even a commercial shot for an annual report you better have some notion of what you are going to shoot — that is what your clients are paying you for.) I know this from when I worked at the newspaper. It rarely works out. Either you have this great plan of how photos from an event should look and event ends up a dud or you are skeptical of how things will work out and they turn out fantastic.

The shot of the baby coot is an example of this. I actually went out to shoot swans — but they must have slept in. While not as cute as cygnets, the young coots are definitely eye-catching in their own ugly way. This stage doesn't last very long. A week from now they will be all grey and will have lost that wigged-out look.

Be adaptable when you go out taking photos. It makes things a lot less stressful.

Photo Randy Vanderveen, Grande Prairie. Alberta A line of goslings head out with an adult to feed in Crystal Lake. A second adult was following the young birds to keep everyone in line and safe.

Second don't always follow the leader. This is something that was drilled into me when in school and the geese reminded me of this. While it is great to converse with other photographers and compare notes if you get away from the others when shooting you will have a different angle on things. It may not be better but it will provide a different look to your photos than everyone else has.

This works when travelling too. Don't take the same photo from the same location as the post cards. Try a different angle of view, a different time of day, a different season of the year and even a different lens. Who knows maybe your "different view" will become the iconic view that people begin to remember over the usual photo.

Finally look around. While deer do this to remain safe from predators it never hurts to get in the habit as a photographer. Sometimes the best angle is behind you — the reaction to what is going on in front of you. Take your viewer away from the usual and give them something to remember.

Photo Randy Vanderveen, Grande Prairie, Alberta A mule deer surveys it surroundings while grazing in a canola field in full bloom east of Grande Prairie.



A new  beginning

Photo Randy Vanderveen, Saskatoon Island Provincial Park - A vandalized sign near the boat launch at Saskatoon Island Provincial Park west of Grande Prairie, Alberta reduces the authority of the traffic control device.

With the introduction of a new look to the website, I thought I would try my hand at blogging.
I know, cyber-space is filled with blogs which really don't mean anything, but I thought perhaps it would be incentive to me to keep updating this site — adding a picture a week— or something similar.
Bear with me as I work through this and get a weekly pattern down. I am hoping that readers, clients and visitors to my website will stop in to see what is up on a semi-regular basis.It has been a relatively quiet July but I am expecting that things will get a little busier as August rolls around.
I will post again by next week, thanks for taking the time to check things out.


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