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 Rwanda (13)


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 .



Seeing the big picture

Photo Randy Vanderveen, near the Smoky River west of Debolt , Alberta A bull elk pauses near the safety of some trees while it surveys its surroundings in early September.In order to make it through hunting season and through life, animals have to be wary and check things out prior to rushing across a clearing.

This elk is a prime example watching from the relative safety of the trees.

We need to be a little more that way, not jumping into things without looking. There is nothing wrong about being spontaneous, however, it can be tempered with common sense too.

On a more photographic-related note, it is sometimes also good to capture the big picture.

With wildlife especially, it is often a temptation to use long lenses, close proximity and cropping to bring photos into what almost looks like a portrait.

While that is good once in awhile, you lose the context of the animal in its natural habitat and how it relates to its environment.

Think of the photos you take of your family. While it is nice to have some close portraits of them, it is also nice to show your friends and loved ones doing what they enjoy, relating with each other and life.


Photo Randy Vanderveen, Lake Kivu, Kibuye, Rwanda A fisherman checks his net for damage as a second man paddles them into shore.Christmas is just over two months away and once November hits North Americans will be hit with a barrage of flyers, commercials and point of purchase displays urging them to buy.

If you want to do something a little different this year, why not look at donating money or time through Samaritan's Purse, World Vision, Canadian Baptist Ministries, the Salvation Army or some other worthwhile organization this season.

It is an opportunity to help give to those in your own city and province or around the world and it both the money and the time are greatly appreciated during this time when the world's economy is still very tight.


Recently I had someone ask if I could post some extra information about the photos included in the blog.

I will try to remember to do so. Here it is for this week.

Photo information

Photo of Elk- lens 200mm aperture f 2.8 shutter 1/500

Photo Fishermen- lens 135 with 1.4 converter, aperture 7.1 shutter speed- 1/640

Photo Muskrat (facebook) lens 200, aperture f2.8, shutter speed 1/125



Compassion works

One of the highlights of the Rwandan mission trip for each of the team members was the opportunity the last day to connect with the Compassion children we sponsored or those the Sunday School sponsored.

It was an opportunity to spend some time with the kids who have been part of our lives — although on the other side of the world— and an opportunity to see the impact Compassion has in the children's lives.

Often you see advertisements about sponsoring children either through Compassion or World Vision or the Christian Children's fund saying that for the cost of a cup of coffee a day you can make a difference. Well you can.

Why not give your self a Christmas gift this year that will benefit someone who can use a hand. Sponsor a child. It doesn't have to be through Compassion — although I highly recommend them. 

The following photos are of the children we had an opportunity to visit, including three of the young man my wife Cheryl and I sponsor.


It's the people

Photo Randy Vanderveen, Butare, Rwanda One of the students who attended the VBS classes the team taught during a two week trip to Rwanda.

We arrived back from Rwanda late Sunday evening after a wonderful two weeks. The trip was once again short. The highlight for this trip for me was building on the relationships with those people we met in the past and meeting new friends.

It is amazing how much can be done and communicated even though a person doesn't know the language. That doesn't mean it is easy but by working at it you can communicate.

Although I have to say it was a lot easier to do so with the use of the translator we had with us.

English is now an official language in Rwanda and the country is beginning to slowly move that direction. That might mean the next opportunity I have to go, I will be able to build even further on those relationships.

Although to be fair, I guess I should work on learning kinyrwandan.

The main point of this post — and I do have one – is that for all its beauty, the greatest draw for me to Rwanda is her people.

Those I met are warm, caring and friendly and I am glad I am starting to build a relationship with some of them.

Photo Randy Vanderveen, Nyanza, Rwanda. Clarisse is the beautiful young woman my wife and I became friends with on our last trip. This time we could build on that friendship.Photo Randy Vanderveen Rwanda The eyes of these two young children (above and below) just drew me in. Photo Randy Vanderveen, near Nyanza, Rwanda This gentleman was walking on the opposite side of the highway one morning when a few of us set out walking ahead of the bus. His face, pipe, and hat had such character I had to take a chance and ask if I could take a photo of him. Through asking by gesturing he replied in a like manner it was okay to do so.


Ten Million Hearts

Kigali, Rwanda Photo Randy Vanderveen A view of one of the residential areas in Kigali, Rwanda's capital city. For someone from Northern Alberta, Rwanda is a big adjustment.

Physically, two Rwandas would fit between Grande Prairie and Whitecourt and yet it is home to almost 10.5 million people.

Africa's most densely populated country doesn't provide much opportunity to being on your own, but when here I don't want to be solitary.

The Rwandese people are the reason we are here and what beautiful people they are. Last week, I said the thousand hills gave the nation its natural beauty, but it is the people who make the country beautiful.

The first time we came here we were told our main job would be relationship building with our partner church.

Those relationships are one of the reasons the three returning team members Brian Burkhart, my wife Cheryl and myself wanted to come back.

We wanted to see our friends again, build on the relationships we had developed and make it so the distance between Webster/McLauin and Butare/Nyarusange churches was only geographical and not relational.

I will update you on the trip upon my return in late November. Please do keep us and the Rwandan church in your prayers.

Kigali, Rwanda Photo Randy Vanderveen A young child squats by the door of a church while her mother works on a basket inside the church as a means of making a living. While Rwanda has a natural beauty, it is the people who capture a person's heart.

Here is a specific prayer list for the second week.

Tuesday Nov. 23 Pray for Janice Scott. Pray for her health and strength in Rwanda. Pray that the planning that went into skits for the VBS will be worthwhile and the message will come across. Pray for the team as they teach VBS to Tweens and Teens that the message will be heard and relationships built. Pray for Bob and the family at home.

Wednesday. Nov. 24 Pray for Thomas Bussemeier. Pray for Thomas to be healthy and strong physically and spiritually. Help him guide those of us on the team who aren't builders to do a good job glorifying God in physical labour. Pray for Hannah and the family.  pray for the team as they lead VBS.

Thursday Nov. 25 Pray for Terry Schreyer: Pray for health and strength both physical and spiritual. Pray that he will be a blessing to those he meets and spends time with in Rwanda. Pray for his family in Canada and that when he returns he will be a real witness for Christ and for the work going on in Rwanda. Pray for the team as they do more home visits and as they travel back to Kigali. Pray for safety on the road.

Friday. Nov. 26 Pray for Randy Vanderveen. Pray for wisdom, strength, health and a servant's heart as he works with the team and works in preparation for the return home also. Bless those he comes in contact with that they will see Christ an help his relationships from the last trip grow. Be with the team as they visit the Compassion kids. Bless the time spent with them for both the team and the children.

Saturday. Nov. 27
Pray for the Soucys, the Goodwins, Pastors Andre, Enias and Joel, Gato, Andre, Laurence, Jean and the others who work daily in Rwanda and guide the team. Be with the team as they undergo their debriefing in the field. Make it so the time will be rewarding. Pray for safety as the team starts their trip home.

Sunday Nov. 28. Pray for the team as they continue their last leg of the trip home. Pray for safety, health, a quick recovery from jet lag and an enthusiasm for Rwanda that will be contagious for the Grande Prairie and Webster congregations. Pray for the team as the prepare for the joint service Dec. 6 and as paper work that needs to be done for the team will go smoothly. Pray also that reverse culture shock won't be overwhelming on the return.  Pray also for the next team in Sept. 2010. Pray that the foundation built by this team will be expanded and the relationship and ministry between Rwanda and Webster/McLaurin will grow until Christ's return.