© Jacob Klassen
Born and Raised on Vancouver Island, I always had a passion for the outdoors. At a young age, I found myself constantly hiking around my local park, trying to find the best tree to build a fort on. Even though the CRD constantly destroyed them, nothing deterred me from being outside in nature. Fast forward a few years and mountain biking took over and played a big part in my free time activities. Nearly every day I would come home from school, neglect my homework and instead pick up my bike and "send it" at my local jumps. This became a daily routine for me, and the effort of pushing my 40lbs downhill bike up mountains in order to ride down as fast I can was always worth it. However one day the inevitable happened as I pushed it far beyond my limits and ended up breaking and dislocating my elbow, causing me to be in a sling for 9 weeks while holding a pillow, and missing work for 3 months. After my recovery, I had to make a choice: continue mountain biking with the risk of permanently damaging my arm and ruining my career as a carpenter, or give it up and find a new hobby. I chose the second option, and I haven't looked back since.
"When handed a camera for the first time, I knew at that moment my outlook on life would change forever." Ha. No, absolutely not. I was clueless. My friend Ryan Kelm asked me to take some shots of him on a trestle bridge, and I honestly can say I didn't know where to put my left and right hand. Aperture? Is that Latin? I knew absolutely nothing about cameras. However what did catch my eye is the fact that this mighty Sony a6000 could zoom far beyond what my Galaxy s7 could do! I thought that was pretty cool, but it became even cooler when that Summer we embarked on what I would consider the "Summer of Summits" (2016), and seeing my pals take wicked photos of the pristine alpine regions of Vancouver Island really caught my eye.
"Summer of Summits" 2016
Mount 5040. ©Ryan Kelm
Golden Hinde. © Ryan Kelm
Kings Peak. © Deon Towle
The months following I finally convinced myself to buy my first camera: the Sony a6000. After a quick hour of YouTubing what the heck Aperture was and how to attach a lens (no joke... I had to YouTube that), I embarked on my first photo-op: taking a Milky Way shot. No joke, a milky way photo for my first photo adventure. Lets just say it didn't turn out so pretty. But with the lack of knowledge, I cranked the temperature down in lightroom and added a ton of purple tint and Voylla! I Got my first image! I knew the photo was filth, but I couldn't care less because I was able to see more stars on my LCD display than I could ever imagine. That's day I fell in love for photography.
What started as a mere interest of seeing a billion stars and having the capabilities of zooming in on cool looking mountains, I began to mature in my landscape photography hobby and started to learn how to control my exposures manually, focus properly, and learned a great deal of tips on simple post processing techniques. However what got me going in full stride was when I had the privilege to go shoot waterfalls with what are now two great friends, Bryce Mironuck and Myles Dmyterko. Watching these two lads take their time scoping out compositions was something I've never seen before as I was always one to show up at a location, pull out my camera and $40 tripod and snap a basic shot. There were times where Myles and I were simply watching Bryce take his shots. And man, can I tell you that he is one focused individual when shooting, and it sure pays off for him. That day was a huge turning point, and I started to focus less on the technical side of shooting and more on how to create a compelling compositions. I started to see that images can be more than just a quick snapshot in time, but a way to express oneself through an image and create an atmosphere of mood and emotion within the image.
The beautiful nature of photography is that there is no limit in progression. To this day I'm constantly learning, tweaking this and that in the field and at home post processing. I find the challenge of creating a simple, balanced image in a world so chaotic to be therapeutic. Photography has also allowed me to connect and make some amazing friends in which I have shared some of my favourite memories with. However the greatest and most important reason as to why I am a landscape photographer is it gives me a great excuse to explore God's creation and express it through my own creative way. Every time I'm outside, I'm reminded of how spectacular and special this blue planet is, and even within the chaos of nature, God has somehow made everything perfectly harmonious. Being out in nature has and always will be something I hold in high regards, and combining that with a passion to capture it makes for quite a dynamic duo!
Thank you for reading my little story of how I got into photography! If you have any questions, please feel free to email me down below.