Invermere artist Brad Hill immerses himself as deep into an environment as he needs to be to get the perfect shot, as the conservation photographer searches for authentic pictures of animals in their natural surroundings.
While shooting along the west coast of B.C., Mr. Hill said he’s waited for days to capture a single shot of a kermode bear (also known as a spirit bear).
“It’s just luck of the draw some of those instances,” he said. “And certainly not just getting a shot of it, but the shot you want — something creative, like a grizzly swimming from eye level.”
Mr. Hill focuses the majority of his photography on the west coast of the province, but takes advantage of the wildlife in the valley too.
“I’ll optimistically shoot in the valley and I’ll certainly go for certain things – wolverines are very high on my list of something I want to photograph in a natural setting.”
Mr. Hill is active with several conservation groups, where he speaks as a professional, often displaying his work through slideshows. He also provides images for conservation-based multimedia projects.
His work is world-renowned: Mr. Hill offers private tutoring to photographers from around the globe at his valley homestead.
“Clients come from all over the world and stay with us from anywhere from three days to up to a week — we’ll be out all over the valley crawling around getting shots, be it big horns, be it bears if they’re out, be it whatever,” he said. “And all of them want to get something with wolves, which is a tough thing to do.”
Although he goes to extreme measures to find his subjects, Mr. Hill said he never baits or agitates the wildlife.
“If you’re primary goal is conservation, it seems a little incongruent to be out there and disturbing the animals you’re working with,” he said.
And even with the abundant wildlife in the developed areas in the valley, Mr. Hill avoids wildlife in man-made environments, especially bears along the highway.
“That’s like the plague,” he said. “All the tourists go by and want to grab their cameras – before long they’re parking all over the road and you have a dangerous situation. And that’s when mishaps can occur — not only traffic mishaps, but also problems with the wildlife.”
“You’ve got people who don’t know what they’re doing, moving in and surrounding a bear as an example,” he said. “My God, that’s a recipe for disaster.”
Naturalart.ca is the address of Mr. Hill’s website, which is updated with new work weekly.