Amanda sent us several powerful photos of the thick yellow, black, and orange smoke rising above Banff National Park, as crews worked to keep the controlled burn in check. They were some of the most remarkable wildfire photos we've ever come across.
Amanda was kind enough to share some of her photos and answer a few questions for us:
Q: Where did you grow up and where do you currently live?
A: I grew up in Red Deer, and I recently moved to Cochrane.
Q: How long have you been shooting photos?
A: I've been taking photos since I was a little girl. Anyone who knows me would tell you that I've always had some sort of camera on me, whether it was a disposable, a point and shoot, a camera phone or a DSLR. I have shoeboxes full of my old photos. I never started thinking of it as a potential career until recently, it was always something that I just did because I loved it.
Q: What about Alberta inspires you?
A: Everything! The way the towering peaks of the mountains can make you feel small and humble. The way the vibrant blue lakes make you feel the need to pinch yourself to see if you're dreaming. Or the way the fiery sunsets over the prairies can capture your attention and make you feel so peaceful and at ease. And of course, the abundant and diverse wildlife!
Q: How patient do you have to be to photograph wildlife and nature?
A: You have to be extremely patient. Wildlife and nature are both so unpredictable, so you can never entirely plan a shot. There are times where it takes days of going back to the same location just to get the proper lighting, or just to catch a glimpse of the animal you were hoping to see. Patience is truly a virtue in photography.
Check out some of Amanda's favourite photos from her collection. Interview continues below:
Q: What's the most unusual, remarkable thing you've ever had happen while taking photos?
A: When I was photographing the wildfire near Banff, everything about that experience was unusual and remarkable. Hearing the trees loudly cracking and popping and feeling the heat of the flames was unreal. Although, the most memorable part would have to be when I came across a black wolf about 2 kilometres from the blaze, walking down the middle of the highway at dusk. Wolves are normally very elusive and it was also my first time seeing a wild one, so this was very special for me.
Q: Have you ever found yourself in a scary situation while shooting?
A: Yes, just recently actually. I was in British Columbia, and I decided to take my vehicle down an extremely remote logging road with my husband to find some nice areas to photograph. The road is normally dirt, but it had a fresh layer of snow and only one set of tire tracks. After attempting to get up the steep, narrow hills and almost getting stuck, we decided to walk up the road to see what we could find. What we found was very fresh, very bloody wolf tracks. Needless to say, that was enough for me to want to turn around and get out of there!
Q: What's your advice to people who want to learn to take remarkable nature photos?
A: Just get out there and shoot! From my experience, practice is absolutely essential, and learning is constant. Even the pros are still learning in some way or another. Always shoot in manual mode if you are using a DSLR, and always keep your camera on you because you never know when an opportunity to take a spectacular photo will arise.
Q: What do you like to do when you're not taking photos?
A: I like to explore nature and take road trips with my husband. One of our favourite things to do is find wild hot springs and soak in them. When I am at home I like to spend my time reading, doing yoga, and hanging out with my three dogs.
You can follow more of Amanda's work here:
Are you interested in being Alberta's Photographer of the Month? Email us and we can chat!