Story by Roy Ramsay with photos and history by contributing editors
For this instalment of Photographer’s Lifestyle I thought I would have the regular contributors of OPC tell us what they were doing 10 years ago, as the magazine was getting ready to be born. Happy 10-year anniversary!
Early in 2007 I was doing final preparations for the biggest project of my photography career: my first coffee table book, Banff & Lake Louise: Images of Banff National Park! I spent the first four months of the year getting the book prepped with my editor and designer, then drove to Altona, MB, in early spring for the printing. Six weeks later a semi pulled up to my condo and delivered 5,000 books that I hand-bombed, box by box by box, filling up an entire half of my underground garage. Ten years later, the book is a Canadian bestseller and I’ve had to reprint it three more times!
Ten years ago I was working as an art director for another magazine. I was in that capacity for eight years (1999 to 2007). I had been shooting images for about 20 years at that point and decided to combine my knowledge of magazines and photography and launch the first issue of Outdoor Photography Canada magazine, with the help of some of Canada’s top photographic professionals. Over the past 10 years I have met some fantastic friends and colleagues. I look forward to bringing you many more years of great content.
When Outdoor Photography Canada was first published, I didn’t own a camera and had no desire to own one. I discovered photography a year later through my father who was very ill, and has since passed. He gave me an envelope with a small amount of money and told me to buy something I would enjoy, something that he could watch me enjoy while he still could. Knowing his lifelong love of photography, I went out and purchased my first camera. My father taught me everything he knew, and it wasn’t long before I started down the path of becoming a professional photographer. I just wish he could see how far I’ve come since then.
Asking me what I was doing 10 years ago is like asking a dog what he did yesterday. I tend to live in the moment and can barely remember what I had for breakfast. But looking at my images, it appears that I was doing a lot of photo tours and workshops in the Canadian Rockies, I was travelling to the Niagara region working on a book about Niagara Falls, I was photographing dogs for two books on mixed breed dogs and was shooting on assignment for Dogs in Canada magazine. I fostered dogs for the local humane society, and best of all I met Samantha. It was a good year!
While the ink was still drying on OPC’s first issue 10 years ago, I had a full head of dark hair and a much trimmer waistline than today! I was very busy travelling; shooting landscapes in the Rockies, wildlife in Saskatchewan, cloud forest birds in Ecuador and beach birds in Florida. Two GB memory cards cost about $100 each and I was filling them as fast as I could point my lens.
At the same time, I finally got high-speed Internet at my house, which was a dream for a stock photographer ready for a long and lucrative career from selling photos.
As 2007 rolled in, I had already spent 30 years behind a camera. I celebrated 10 years as a full-time professional photographer following a fairly quick and smooth transition from an earlier 20-year career in the biological sciences. I was just getting comfortable with digital photography. Travelling throughout Canada, I photographed on assignment and produced stock imagery specializing in agriculture, architecture, travel and nature. I released my seventh book called The Canadian Rockies and was completing Georgian Bay (eighth of my current 14 books). My youngest girl was a teenager and my oldest girl had entered early adulthood; both have since gifted my wife and I with four wonderful grandchildren. Life is grand!
Remembering and going through images that are 10 years old brought many smiles to my face. At that time, I was wrapping up my wildlife content and by 2008 my weddings were coming to an end as well — over 200 of them — allowing me more time for commercial and tourism work, which is where I’m heavily involved to this day. I worked for a modelling agency for a while until it succumbed to a shaky economy, but the image supplied was from that time. It was shot in May 2006 with my trusty 70-200mm f/2.8, which I still use today in a lot of my tourism work.
A lot of things can happen in 10 years and yet it can pass in the blink of an eye! Ten years ago I was heavily involved within the information technology industry. I was developing web and desktop software, managing the software distribution system for a large number of computers and working on infrastructure projects. Fast-forward to today and I couldn’t be more appreciative for the photographic opportunities I have. Leaving the world of cubicles has been a creative benefit. I’m fortunate to have that balance of technical and creative skill to help me create my art.
Ten years ago I was living and working on Brownsea Island, a 500-acre nature reserve in the UK. I had lived there for the past nine years and was looking forward to my imminent emigration to Canada (which took place the following year). I worked for the National Trust (the UK’s largest conservation charity and owners of Brownsea Island). My passion for photography had been growing since living on the island. What started as a hobby began to transform into a business as I sold some of my imagery of Brownsea to the National Trust for use as promotional material.
To read more from this 10th anniversary issue please pick up the Winter 2017 (#40) issue of OPC. Or to never miss an issue please SUBSCRIBE today!