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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Entries in Grande Prairie (23)


Different looks

Photo Randy Vanderveen, Grande Prairie, Alberta A farmer cuts down a hay crop west of the Grande Prairie airport.Last week I showed a couple of examples of how photos can look different by using a different lens.

This week there are two more examples of how to make photos stand out.

Above is a change of viewpoint. From above this field takes on an abstract look.

The second is example has two photos a before and after post-production. For editorial and documentary work the after photo is unusable because of the work done to it in post production like increasing the contrast and some heavy burning and dodging.

However for a print to hang on the wall the second looks much better.

Photo Randy Vanderveen, Grande Prairie, Alberta The before photo of a combine working in a field.Photo Randy Vanderveen, Grande Prairie, Alberta The after photo which has more pop and visual impact would not be submitted for editorial or documentary work. It is fine for a print on a wall.


Go Wide

Photo Randy Vanderveen, Grande Prairie, AB Work is underway on a new splash park, sponsored by the Grande Prairie Elks, in Muskoseepi Park.Making effective use of your equipment and varying the angle of view can make a big difference whether you are documenting a construction project like the two photos today or your child's birthday.

Try using a variety of lenses and points of view — after you have taken the safe shot. You don't want to miss the big moment in the lives of your family and friends.

The use of a fish eye lens in these two shots provides two totally different looks to the construction underway on a new spray park in Muskoseepi Park.

The top provides an ultra-wide angle view of the entire footpad of the project which is scheduled for completion next month and will open to the public next spring.

The bottom provides an exaggerated viewpoint. The shallow trench with conduit resembles a canyon. However, it is that unique perspective that draws in the viewer or reader.

Try something different with your photography — perhaps using a wide lens for something traditionally shot with a telephoto like sports and a telephoto for something that usually is shown in a wide perspective.

Not every photo will turn out but those that do will show a more creative side of your photography.

Photo Randy Vanderveen, Grande Prairie, Alberta A low angle with a fish eye lens makes a shallow trench resemble a canyon as work continues on the Elks sponsored splash park at Muskoseepi Park.


Lessons not learned

Friday night I was reminded of how the newspaper industry still has not picked up on the lessons it should have learned.

I shot a fire at a local condominium complex which resulted in at 50 people being homeless at least for the night and some for much longer.

As firefighting operations continued I returned home to file photos so that a newspaper website in Edmonton, Alberta could have photos of breaking news even prior to television stations if they decided to use any.Photo Randy Vanderveen Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada 12-07-27 Grande Prairie firefighters battle a condominium blaze at Haywood Court, a housing complex in the Patterson Place neighbourhood in south Grande Prairie shortly before 6 pm. Friday. Approximately 50 people living in the complex were homeless that night as a result of the blaze. For some and possibly all it will be much longer. The newspaper decided not to run with it, which as a professional photographer I understand. However, an industrial fire which happened around the same time as the Grande Prairie fire, checking the Edmonton media websites and talking to the contact at the paper resulted in several things striking me about newspapers. These were lessons I thought the newspaper industry would have learned.

1. My contact at the city desk said the photo might not run because of space. After years in the newspaper industry, I understand space constraints in a newspaper, especially when the photo like this is a narrow vertical one. However, just an observation, if you have a website that argument is kind of thrown out the proverbial window. If  as a newspaper you are moving to a stronger internet presence then make use of it. You need to be relevant and breaking news like an industrial fire is relevant (see point 2.)

2. If something timely is happening make use of your website for breaking news. That is one of the arguments for having a website. While the television stations in Edmonton had photos of the industrial fire on their websites at 6:30 pm, possibly sooner, it was after 9:30 before I could find any reference to there even being a fire in Edmonton on the newspaper sites. (In contrast staff at the Daily Herald-Tribune in Grande Prairie had a photo and news brief of the local fire on the paper's site  shortly after 7 pm.)

I realize editorial content does not mean revenue for a newspaper, radio or TV — advertising brings in the dollars.

However, there is also a direct correlation between the readership of the paper — the physical copy or the website — and revenue.

If readers don't see a paper as being relevant and timely they won't subscribe to it or read its website. If people aren't reading the paper, advertisers are not going to buy space for ads. Why would they? The inverse is also true. If your product is relevant and timely making it the go to place for news, advertisers will follow the readership. The readership reflects ad rates.

Newspapers — and the chains and stockholders that own and operate them— need to realize this. If you want a profitable investment don't gut the resources like staff. This diminishes your product and killing the goose that laid the golden egg.


Now that I have finished ranting, and on a much more important and urgent note, there are people in Grande Prairie who at the present are homeless. Both the Salvation Army and Red Cross step in in disastrous situations like this. Why not lend them a hand. The Sally Ann and Red Cross need money to operate and I am confident that any financial assistance you could provide them with will be welcomed and put to good use.

If you are reading this from outside the Grande Prairie area, your local Salvation Army and Red Cross or similar organizations could still use the financial help. Step up and help them and through them your neighbours out.



Spring wings

Photo Randy Vanderveen, near Wembley Alberta Swans wing their way across the South Peace sky on a beautiful spring afternoon. Swans, which have been back in the Peace Country for several weeks, always mark the arrival of spring up here for me. The trumpeters will soon begin to find an area to nest and raise their young, while the tunrdra swans will wing their way further north to their nesting grounds within a week or two.


Field Work — Sow: Horses pulling a drill

Photo Randy Vanderveen Grande Prairie, Alberta 11-05-11 Bill Finch drives a team of six horses pulling an International drill as Gail Roessler rides along as an oat crop is planted in a small field east of Grande Prairie May 17/11.It is always interesting to capture glimpses of the past today.

This past week I had that opportunity as some local horsemen were seeding oats in a field east of Grande Prairie.

The seeding is by no means as efficient as it is now as farmers use air seeders pulled behind large tractors but it makes one realize how hard the first residents of the Peace Country had things.

This year marks the Centennial of the Edson Trail where settlers disembarked the train in the West Central Alberta town and made the hard trip through muskeg, bush and all kinds of weather to head into the Peace Country to clear and break land as they set up homesteads.

In Western Canada, the settlement history is so very recent.

The lesson here is to remember to capture day to day life now. Often the camera is pulled out on special occasions and we don't take photos of our loved ones or the everyday activities around us.

It seems boring and unexciting, however, if those who documented the past had thought the same thing we would have a very limited photographic record of life.

Those in the South Peace and the Edson area will likely have the opportunity to take part in a few of the celebrations surrounding the Edson-Grande Prairie Trail this summer. Why not do some research into plans for the summer and make an effort to take in a celebration of history of this area.

Photo Randy Vanderveen Grande Prairie, Alberta 11-05-11 Bob Patterson drives his team of four Percherons as he seeds oats in a field east of Grande Prairie, Tuesday, May 17. Patterson and several other members of the Peace Draft Horse and Pulling Club were busy seeding a crop using a method from a different era of farming.