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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A purpose -full week

Photo Randy Vanderveen, Forest Grove, Oregon David LaBelle, Pictures with Purpose leader and director of the Photojournalism Department at Kent State University, showed a love for people and photography every day of the workshop.

Last week I had the opportunity to do something I have wanted to do for a number of years — take part in the Pictures with Purpose Workshop. It proved to be different than I first expected but it was an experience I  will remember the rest of my life.

I spent a week with David LaBelle, the instructor, and Yolanda Li, a fellow student, working on compassionate story-telling  (watch for the result in the coming weeks). But photography was probably the smallest portion of what I learned.

David demonstrated a love and interest in people, who he easily puts at ease, a robust passion for photography and story telling and a genuine faith in Christ that is demonstrated every day. He also has a contagious sense of humour.

I also learned from Yolanda what a servant's heart is all about as she demonstrated her faith, love and humility by seeing people's needs and helping meet them.

My biggest reward for a week filled with learning in a humbling and at times emotionally draining workshop was the friends I made from those met during my week in Forest Grove, Oregon, and especially the friendship with Dave and Yolanda.

Here are  some photos from my time there (outside of the main project) as mentioned earlier a collaborative photo/story package will be up in several weeks and I will keep you posted as to where you can find it.

Photo Randy Vanderveen Forest Grove, Oregon David LaBelle

 Photo Randy Vanderveen Forest Grove, Oregon Yolanda LiPhoto Randy Vanderveen Forest Grove, Oregon The elusive Ohio Big Foot (David LaBelle) darts across the road in Oregon. Sometimes you just have to have fun like recreating the traditional sasquatch photo. Forest Grove, Oregon 14-07-08 Randy Vanderveen Dave LaBelle (right) poses with a worker at the Forest Grove post office. David's ability to put people at ease is something I found incredible.

Jefferson, Oregon 14-07-09 Randy Vanderveen Bill Stam, founder of the All Nations Native American War Memorial, pauses quietly as he leans on a walking staff he used to walk the Oregon Trail of Tears.

 Photo Randy Vanderveen Forest Grove, Oregon 2014-07-12 A young lady patiently waits to make her grand entry into her quinceañera, (Fifteenth birthday) at a banquet facility in downtown Forest Grove.

Photo Randy Vanderveen Forest Grove, Oregon 2014-07-12 A little boy cautiously checks out a dark side-room in a Mexican restaurant in Forest Grove. Below A second version of the same photo in black and white.



Recent Work and Remembrance

Here is some recent work.Photo Randy Vanderveen Debolt, Alberta 3/19/2014 Pussy willows are beginning to show themselves along the rural roads throughout the South Peace as spring arrived with a cold whimper in the Peace Country.

 Photo Randy Vanderveen Grande Prairie, Alberta 2014-03-24 A bald eagle spreads its wings as it takes off from its perch on a poplar tree and heads out across a clear blue early spring sky in the South Peace.

Photo Randy Vanderveen Grande Prairie, Alberta 2014-03-24 Deer gather for a morning feed in a field southwest of Grande Prairie. Farmers across the Prairies lose a portion of their crops and feed each year to wildlife and an Alberta survey is trying to determine a dollar value on those losses.Photo Randy Vanderveen Grande Prairie, Alberta 2014-03-25 A rail spike sits above grade on a section of railway west of Grande Prairie. Photo Randy Vanderveen Grande Prairie, Alberta 3/19/2014 A hot air balloon pilot lifts and lowers his aircraft for practice in the Grande Prairie sky as Prairie Sunrise Towers and the city are seen in the background. The hot air balloon season is just around the corner as mornings and evenings become milder.

•••Photo Randy Vanderveen The 1994 Genocide memorial for the Kinazi Sector in southern Rwanda. Hundreds of genocide memorials are set up across the nation with a national one in Kigali.

On a more serious and darker note, April marks the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide.

The country has seen a lot of healing and forgiving over the past two decades but unfortunately the rest of the world doesn't seem to have learned any lessons.

Currently there are a number of countries that are on the threshold of genocide experiencing mass murders because of religion or ethnic backgrounds including South Sudan and the Central African Republic.

One would have thought that the expression "Never Again" would mean NEVER but we as humans never learn.

Keep Rwanda and her people in your prayers this month as they remember and try to continue to heal from this nightmare in the nation's history. Pray that the other nations on the verge of genocide would stand down and their citizens would instead stand up for their relatives, neighbours and friends being persecuted and killed.

 Photo Randy Vanderveen A memorial plaque outside the Rwandan National Genocide Memorial in Kigali .



Winter retreat

Photo Randy Vanderveen LaGlace, Alberta 3/11/2014 A foal sticks close to mom in a field east of LaGlace where several dozen horses were feeding on hay. The horse appeared to be the youngest of all the animals gathered in the pasture.After a long hard winter, it appears that winter is finally retreating in the Peace Country and that spring may have sprung — although I am sure Old Man Winter will have one or two kicks before retiring.

Here are a few photos shot recently which look forward to spring's arrival. The change of seasons provides plenty of opportunities for a photographer to hone his or her skills.

Photo Randy Vanderveen LaGlace, Alberta 2/27/2014 A late bison calf, born Halloween, stays close to the more mature animals on the Black Velvet Buffalo Farm northwest of LaGlace. Usually calves are born in May but despite its late start this youngster has managed to handle a hard winter.Photo Randy Vanderveen Grande Prairie Alberta 3/4/2014 Todd Wagner, of Troyer Enterprises Ltd., is reflected in a hubcap as he fires off a burst of water from his wand to prevent it from freezing up as he prepares to wash a piece of bale handling equipment in preparation for last week's Peace Country Ag Classic at Evergreen Park. Photo Randy Vanderveen Grande Prairie Alberta 3/4/2014 Todd Wagner, of Troyer Enterprises Ltd., almost disappears in a cloud of steam as he and co-worker Daryl English (not pictured) wash a piece of bale handling equipment in preparation for last week's Peace Country Ag Classic at Evergreen Park.



Here are a few recent photos. See if you can see the title of this post in the photos as a theme. Photo: Randy Vanderveen Grande Prairie, Alberta 2/20/2014 Col. Chris Hadfield appears to be re visualizing his first lift off as he talks at the Growing the North Conference.Photo: Randy Vanderveen Grande Prairie, Alberta 2/25/2014 A deer warily looks up from foraging for food among a stand of trees on a farm south of Grande Prairie on a cold February morning. Deep snow and cold have resulted in wildlife seeking food where it is more readily available including on farms and near livestock feed.Photo: Randy Vanderveen Wembley, Alberta 2/25/2014 A pair of cows look down a narrow alleyway between two pens on a farm south west of Wembley. Cattle producers will soon be busy with calving, not made any easier by the extreme cold that hit the Prairies at the end of February and the beginning of March.Photo: Randy Vanderveen Wembley, Alberta 2/25/2014 A coyote looks back over its shoulder before heading into a stand of trees west of Wembley. The deep snow this winter has made it harder for wildlife to get around easily.•••
I attended the Growing the North conference at Evergreen Park and it was well worth it for the speakers and information.
It was also great to see Walter Paszkowski recognized by the organizers.
I first met Walter more than 20 years ago and I can't think of any one who could possibly have worked harder than he does to champion the Peace Country and northern Alberta. He appears to always be ready to greet you with a smile and a wave.
He started as town councillor and then mayor of Sexsmith and went on to run as an MLA. Once he retired as MLA in 2001 he worked hard as the County of Grande Prairie Economic Development officer and came up with the idea of Growing the North and worked at getting the annual event off the ground.
He recently retired from the county and is stepping back from the Growing the North to enjoy some much needed time for himself and his wife Marlyss.Photo: Randy Vanderveen Grande Prairie, Alberta 2/19/2014 Walter Paszkowski, who retired as the County of Grande Prairie economic development officer, addresses the crowd as he was honoured in front delegates to the Growing the North conference at Evergreen Park Wednesday. The two-day annual conference, which marked its fifth year, was the brain child of Paszkowski along with several other leaders in the South Peace region.

Family Day

Photo Randy Vanderveen, Grande Prairie Alberta Often times the most pleasing photos of families are when they are involved in natural activities and not focussed (excuse the pun) in the camera and photographer. Justin, Ami and Luna Pio.

Photographers, like many people involved in other vocations, are guilty of being examples of the saying "The cobbler's children go barefoot". Too often we focus on everything around us sometimes forgetting to take photographs of the people we love.

It is important to take photos of first-time events like a child's graduation, snap shots of the wonder of a grandchild seeing something for the first time and even just goofy shots of our kids and spouses that no one outside the family will ever see (not everything should end up on Facebook).

The photos don't have to be technically perfect as it is often the memory we are trying to capture and not the aesthetic and artistic qualities of the situation.

Instead of getting frustrated by having your family pose why not take out the camera when they are busy doing something. Often times the photos will be more interesting, mean more and will make your subjects less likely to object to you taking a few photos. Photo Randy Vanderveen Grande Prairie, Alberta A snow angel marks where a young child and her grandmother were playing.

Photo Randy Vanderveen Grande Prairie, Alberta The delight in this toddler's eyes is the result of playing with her someone who loves her — her grandmother. Capturing the interaction between family members shows the love they have for one another.

This past weekend was Family Day in Alberta and my wife and I spent sometime with my youngest daughter Ami and her husband Justin as they took their daughter Luna out sledding on a sunny February afternoon.

While it was great to take photos of the three of them, it was even better to spend the time with them and just capture a few memories.

Don't forget to take some photos of the IMPORTANT PEOPLE in your life — your family.

Photo Randy Vanderveen Grande Prairie, Alberta Simple things like a child ignoring her constantly slipping sunglasses can provide interest to a photo.

Photo Randy Vanderveen Grande Prairie, Alberta Capturing people at play is one situation where you can photograph your family members in a natural situation that will bring back good memories in the future.  While the photos used in this blog post are of young families — don't forget the older members of your family too.

In the years I worked at the paper I always thought it was sad that sometimes the only photo available for an obituary or memorial piece in the paper was a drivers licence photo. Take the time to capture your loved ones with your camera— and then put it down and spend some time with them.

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