Nelson’s Vision

Over the years readers have enjoyed BCRTA member Nelson Winterburn’s extraordinary photography. We asked Nelson to tell us more about his journey with this craft.

Tell us about life before your retired.

I began teaching in 1968 and retired in 2002, 33 years of which were in District #48, Howe Sound Sea to Sky, Squamish area. Although I taught adult night school (GED) for a few years and one session of summer school to high schoolers, all my teaching experience was at the upper elementary grades that included 25 years teaching grade seven.

Prior to teaching, I served five years in the Royal Canadian Navy (1959-1964) and that is where my interest in photography began on a very casual basis. Since then, I have taken a few courses in photo work, but a lot of my ‘learning’ has taken place by reading photography magazines and online lessons. The best lessons were analysing my pictures and deciding how to improve.

What sort of equipment do you use?

My camera is a Nikon D-3200 DSLR and I alternate among three lenses: 18-55 mm, 55-300 mm, and this past June I purchased a 10-20 mm wide angle lens. In addition, I use a tripod and a favorite filter is a ‘star’ filter to capture sunsets (or moon shots). All my editing is performed on a Mac.

Nelson Winterburn

Do you have any favorite locations?

Squamish is a hotbed of photographic subjects and therefore a favourite location. I have the ocean with boats/ships; mountains with peaks, lakes, and rivers; buildings old and new, and animal life – seals, fish, and now whales; deer, bear, elk; and no shortage of avian subjects, my favourite being eagles.

However, I take my camera with me wherever I go as one ever knows when one might be by the ocean and catch sight of a pod of marauding orcas, travelling into Bella Coola and coming across a Grizzly sow with two cubs, (and also a black bear sow with two cubs a few km down the road!), or people at a music festival dancing to the music.

What do you hope to photograph in the future?

For my bucket list of photography, I want to get pictures of a bull moose with a full rack as well as a bull elk. Next, I would like to capture some of downtown Vancouver’s older buildings such as the Marine Building. If I won the lottery, I would be getting on a plane and going to the Yukon to get pictures of the Northern Lights and to Churchill to see the polar bears. I have been to South Africa and have wonderful memories of ‘shooting’ elephants, lions, giraffes, hyenas, hippos, and Rhinos. But I need to get to Australia and New Zealand!

Any favorite stories of adventure while getting a photo?

Just last night I met my daughter and family at Porteau Cove Provincial Park for dinner. While prepping, she happened to look up and saw — a pod of orcas swimming past the dock. Immediately, I grabbed my camera bag and started walking at a fast pace, all the while removing my small lens and hooking up my zoom lens. Below is one of the shots of the orcas. I have lived in Squamish nearly fifty years and have seen lots of seals, porpoises, and jumping fish, but this was a FIRST for me to actually see whales in Howe Sound.

What a great evening to be with my granddaughter and see a pod of orcas!! Who knew??

Always have your camera handy.

Any advice for wannabe photographers?

For anyone wanting to take up photography, start with a point and shoot. Eventually, you will want more from your efforts and that will be the time to explore a more complex camera.  The world is your oyster – and your subject matter.

Thanks, Nelson, for sharing these amazing images with us!