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 (25)


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.


Spring in the Peace

Photo Randy Vanderveen, Grande Prairie, Alberta The light purple blooms of a prairie crocus mark spring's arrival in the Peace.After a very long winter spring has finally sprung in the Peace Country. Here are a few photos from the past week celebrating that arrival.

Hope you enjoy them. Until next week.

Photo Randy Vanderveen, Cleardale, Alberta Mike Dimon checks on a young calf as he makes his daily ride to look for new arrivals to his herd. By calving later in the spring weather doesn't pose a big a problem to the new additions to his herd.

Photo Randy Vanderveen Grande Prairie, Alberta A tree swallow perches on a strand of barb wire as it checks out its surroundings. Birds are nesting in the Peace and soon young ones will be seen and heard.


Saving history

Photo: Randy Vanderveen Grande Prairie, Alberta A track hoe tears down the old Wapiti Dorm which served as a community dorm in Grande Prairie for many years until the new Rotary House came into service this past winter.Documenting the history of your community is often forgotten by photographers as taking photos of buildings and street scenes can seem boring.

But, as I have written about before it is important to use it as a type of self-assignment to capture things before they are gone, like Grande Prairie's Wapiti Dorm which was levelled late last week. 

This is especially true in Western Canada. The area is relatively young when it comes to being settled although it has a long history with native communities.

Despite its newness or maybe because of it, we don't seem to even think of saving our history like other parts of the world or even nation.

Buildings that are 50 years old or newer are often torn down and replaced with something new — and not always with something more architecturally pleasing.

Some of this has to do with building materials used after all a stick frame building doesn't last as long as a stone or even log structure.

That constant change means our communities and neighbourhoods disappear or take on a different look.

However, even if the changes are documented — those records themselves are in jeapordy.

It is believed that the majority of digital photos taken are not printed or properly backed up which means a hard drive failure is all that stands between a record of our history existing and disappearing.

For photographers, when it comes to backing up images — whether they are happy snaps of family and friends or a once in a life time photograph— REDUNDANCY IS OUR FRIEND.

Your photos should be backed up in several places and not just on your computer's hard drive.

While DVDs and CDs are not necessarily a long term archival solution, at least they are a temporary backup.

There are also external hard drives (which continue to drop in price), on-line solutions like Photoshelter. There is even a company that will convert your images onto film — back to the future.

Ultimately the responsibility of ensuring your images survive is yours. You should have a plan and workflow in place to ensure that there is not just one copy of your photos.

Why not make a mid-year's resolution to start working on your archive today.


Point of view

Photo Randy Vanderveen, The orange needles of tamarack trees provide a splash of colour in a mid autumn aerial view of land south of Grande Prairie. Tamaracks are coniferous trees that lose their needles each fall and grow primarily in swampy areas and are often harvested for use as fence poles.Photo Randy Vanderveen, near Edmonton, Alberta An old building sits as a solitary structure in the middle of a field already worked up for fall. A change of view can often yield a new look to photos.

When I was first starting out, one of the suggestions given to me was to take the readers where they can't go themselves — or don't go.

Often an aerial view or a worm's eye view of a scene opens up a whole new way of seeing things. Patterns emerge, the dominance of a subject in the frame changes and it provides an opportunity to catch the eye of those looking at your photos.

These three aerials taken on a flight from Edmonton to Grande Prairie demonstrate how different things can appear.

The final photo is one we all can relate to. When we are at street level in our neighbourhoods the pattern of streets, repeating roof shapes, and the scale of things aren't as evident as they are in the air.

On a side note for those interested in photography remember the camera you have with you is always the best one. In the case of these photos they were all taken with a point and shoot and while the quality isn't as good, just the fact that I had a camera allowed me to capture these frames. Without a camera I would have nothing but what I remembered — and when you have a short memory like me that doesn't always amount to much.

Photo Randy Vanderven, The pattern of streets, houses and yards becomes evident from the air. When on the ground it is often a case of not seeing the forest for the trees.

This can also be true in our day to day lives. Often we are so focussed on things that are happening around us or the day to day routine, we fail to see the big picture and God's plan for our lives.

Sometimes it is essential to try and look at things from another point of view to put things into perspective.

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