BC photographer talks about two of his favourite images
Story by Stephanie Hounsell
Photography by Jim Brompton
One of landscape photographer Jim Brompton’s favourite things to do is to share the stories behind his photos. And with almost 40 years of experience, the photographer has many tales to tell.
Two of his favourite photos are entitled The Window and Amazing. They both demonstrate that there are times a good photo can become a great photo with a little extra effort.
After seeing the Sylvia Hotel in Vancouver, Brompton — who lives in British Columbia — knew he wanted to photograph it when the leaves were displaying their ravishing reds. He called the hotel regularly for a “colour report,” and when the foliage was mostly red, he gathered his equipment and set out. Upon arrival, the colours were just as he’d hoped. But he hadn’t anticipated just how tight it would be to shoot.
He tried different lenses, but none gave him what he wanted and he couldn’t get level with the windows, which was important to him.
Determined, he trudged up a hill about a block behind the hotel. He found an opening in the canopy of a group of trees along the hotel that allowed him to shoot level to a couple of the windows on the fifth or sixth floor. He chose the window he did because of the small opening in the curtain. “It almost looked like someone was going to look out,” he says.
He took the picture using a 600 mm ƒ4 lens.
This photo was taken a few years ago in Kuranda, Australia. Brompton happened upon the breath-taking scene on a drive and knew it was a photograph waiting to happen. But, he says, the angle wasn’t quite right.
He was particular about the composition. He wanted the meeting point of the three waterfalls — which looks like the bottom of a “V” — to be at the centre of the photograph. That meant he needed to go for a bit of a hike. The result? A clean, clutter-free and centred image.
The photo originally had a different title. But a gallery owner suggested Brompton change it to “Amazing” after visitors to the gallery continued to make that very remark upon viewing the photo. Brompton was happy to comply.
This photo was shot right after a heavy rain, which Brompton said is one of his favourite times to photograph; there’s more contrast, the greens are greener, and everything has a bit of a shine, he says.
People sometimes ask Brompton to critique their photos, and he often tells them they could have gotten a better shot if they had just moved over a bit. Sometimes, moving a foot this way or three feet that way can make all the difference in the composition and go a long way toward reducing clutter.
That was the case for both The Window and Amazing. In both instances, Brompton put in extra time and effort to scout out the perfect location, yielding great results.