Top Photographer - Issue 08
Top Photographer is a ranking based on the average score of a person’s best five photos in a given issue. The winner will be awarded this section of the magazine to do with as they please. Last issue’s winner was Roy Pat.
Who are you and what do you do when you aren’t taking pictures?
I’m a commercial real estate agent, focused solely on industrial real estate. (Please don’t blame me for housing prices!) Although I have a pretty heavy workload and am office-oriented Monday to Friday, in my spare time, aside from taking photos, I love to cycle, hike, ride my motorcycle, climb, play squash, and travel.
What kind of camera do you use? Can you give us a tip on how to take a great photo?
I was shooting with a Sony NEX-5N for a number of years and then upgraded to a full frame Sony a7 about a year-and-a-half ago. I love mirrorless digital cameras since you can adapt old film camera lenses to them with cheap adapters you can buy off eBay. I actually use one of my dad’s old Canon FD film camera lenses that he originally bought over 30 years ago and it still works great.
As far as tips, I personally try to stick to basics like the “rule of thirds” in most of my photos to make sure that they feel generally pleasing to look at. But more importantly, I try to make sure I’m regularly going to interesting places so that the landscape and location are already doing most of the work for me!
Do you have any trips planned this summer?
I’m heading to Tofino for the first time and staying there for a few nights in August, and then have a trip planned to visit Taipei and the Philippines for the first time in November. One of the entries in my annual “personal/business plan” is to try and make sure I visit four new places every year, near, or far. Life is short!
Who is your favourite local photographer and why?
There are plenty of local photographers who take amazing travel/hiking photos but I think I really respect other photographers that have a different aesthetic/subject from what I usually shoot. @jjudelee puts out some awesome portraiture and other work.
What do you love about Vancouver?
I was travelling in mainland China this past February. Beijing and Shanghai each have a population of over 20 million people, and you realize after spending time in the hordes of people at train stations, in the subway, in line for anything, and basically anywhere that we have it pretty good over here. I remember seeing a few train station posters advertising what I think was some sort of retirement fund, and their imagery of an “ideal retirement” were things like a person paddling a kayak in a pristine lake surrounded by pine trees, or a lady rock climbing. It made me realize that most who live in a city of 20+ million people would rather be somewhere else with less people and more outdoors activities. We are lucky!
What do you hate about Vancouver?
Everyone complains about the weather from October to April, which is a totally fair complaint and I’m not exactly a fan myself. But I think what bothers me more about Vancouver is the tendency for friend groups to be somewhat cliquey and less open to new members. People in the city are usually very friendly in the polite asking-for-directions sense. But the most common complaint I hear from new migrants to the city is that it takes a lot of effort until someone invites you to social events with their established inner circle.
What’s your favourite place to have a beer in Vancouver?
R&B Brewing in Mount Pleasant has a nice patio, a great selection of craft beer (try the Vancouver Special IPA), and surprisingly good pizza to boot. Plus, it’s always nice to be able to support local businesses that actually have a far better product than the bigger players.
If you could change one or a few things about Archive, what would they be?
Firstly, I think that the photo preview system for ranking photos in-app unfairly favours certain kinds of photos—squarer format, larger and bolder subjects. You can’t assess anything with fine detail. Higher resolution previews and/or a system to zoom in on each photo would be a nice addition.
Secondly, although it’s a photography-focused magazine (which I love), I think that there should be more structure with the way that non-photo content is featured in the magazine. I think a “new in Vancouver” section would be great—talking about any new restaurants, coffee shops, clothing stores etc. within the city. Why not partner with local food bloggers that could provide photography and reviews?
Lastly, I think the Archive editor commentary on photos, which seem to sometimes be unrelated to the photos themselves, should be removed entirely. I find it actually distracts from appreciating the photography.
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