Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Photographer and Writer

I am available for editorial and commercial assignments upon request.

Please contact me at:

Will travel as required.

Doug Pyper

Pics of the Week

Shamus Burrell, West Kootenay Goat Herder

Prospector and Little Girl, Fort Steele Heritage Town

Monday, September 21, 2009

Beyond the Spin

The Gordon Campbell PR machine has become extremely well versed in political spin since the onslaught of their autocracy in 2001. They spew well-tailored rhetoric, but it rarely speaks any truth much less gives any indication of their real intentions in any given matter.

The "Throne Speech" is a superb example of well-chosen word dressing which has nothing to do with reality or honesty.

I re-wrote a short segment of the speech which addresses the BC Energy Plan, specifically private river power projects (IPP's) and the recent BCUC ruling that states neither are in the "public interest"

It's a much more enlightening speel with a few well-placed words expressing what they really have in mind.

Hope you enjoy my short expose' published as lead article in Vancouver's Columbia Journal.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Adrenalin Anyone?

It was a typical West Kootenay autumn afternoon......warm sunshine and bluebird skies, with a mix of that indefinable surreal tranquility known as Indian Summer. Veteran whitewater kayakers Carl Jacks and Chris Ryman phoned to say hello and tell me they were in my neigbourhood to run a “small waterfall” on the Kaslo River. They asked if I’d like to join them and photograph their little shindig. Hey, it’s what I do guys.....I’ll be there!

The Kaslo River is a pure gem. It flows out of the high alpine of Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park and journeys downward through the lush green forests and deep quiet valleys of the pristine Selkirk Mountains before spilling its crystal clear water into Kootenay Lake at Kaslo. (which is where I live for the time being).

An old ski buddy of mine attempting to be profound with brew in hand once commented, “Extreme sports are all about challenging and pitting yourself against intense terrain, under intense conditions, at an intense level of experience.....whether it be skiing, mountain biking, climbing, whitewater kayaking or whatever. But whitewater paddling (and surfing) are a real bitch, because the terrain actually moves under you. And that movement can change on any given day which makes things extra scary. There’s just no time for second thoughts, because everything is fluid and raging.”

Point taken....which is why I’ve stuck to mountain biking and skiing. And being an Aries fire sign I’m not a water baby anyway.

By the time I arrived and scrambled down the steep bank with my camera gear, Carl and Chris along with friends Bradd Tuck and la femme Laurence Bachand we’re scoping out a planned route through the falls from the bluffs above.

I’m a photographer and photojournalist. I would describe myself as a storyteller. Every good image tells a story! Even an engaging portrait speaks of the subject.

The slide show that follows is a story of a few hours shared by friends. It tells of the fear and excitement (often the same thing), exhilaration, camaraderie, elation, personal accomplishment and fulfillment. It was a sharing of special time enjoyed by all...photographer included. A captivating little river dance!



Chris Ryman owns Endless Adventure in Crescent Valley, BC on the banks of the Slocan River.

Carl Jacks is president of Borderline Boaters here in the West Kootenay.

A bit of a digression. A few years ago Carl and Chris along with some other elite Kootenay paddlers formed a group called the Endangered Creek Expeditions. Their agenda was to paddle the high flow creeks across BC threatened by proposed private hydro development (IPP’s), an initiative of Gordon Campbell's ill-conceived BC Energy Plan.

Their goal was to show the people of BC the beauty of these incredible natural places by filming their experiences.

It was also an attempt to draw attention to certain clauses within the federal Navigable Waters Act, which placed restrictions on construction of industrial structures on watersheds considered "navigable". Paddling these raging creeks, considered by both government and power producers as "unnavigable", brought this issue into question or so they thought.

This past year Prime Minister Harper introduced legislation that significantly changed this act (which dates back to confederation), basically opening up all our Canadian watersheds to industrial development.

Smells of a very timely collusion between Ottawa and Victoria during the current push for private river power development in BC. But that’s another story!

This Camera Takes Good Pictures

I really can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this phrase. And it seems with the onslaught of the digital age it’s become epidemic. For the record cameras don’t take pictures, people do. And if you want to be a good photographer it might be well to understand this.

It's about the light ...period!

Cameras are merely a (and yes, the immortal sensor) are merely a canvas. Furthermore, Photoshop and other editing software are not the panacea. They comprise a digital darkroom; considerably more user friendly than the traditional film darkroom, but that is their sole purpose. They don’t make you a better photographer. (computer geeks take heed).

Photography is an art form at its best...although it is mostly a personal documentary medium for the average person, and that’s all fine and good. Perhaps it's best not confuse the two, because that’s less important to all camera toters than understanding that photography is about light.....period!

That is your medium. And whether you’re an aspiring artist or you just want great family or travel photos, it all begins with an understanding and visual recognition of this simple fact.

As a career photographer and photojournalist I offer this advice from my website.


"Although subject matter and composition are important elements in creating a photograph, if you aspire to be a great photographer you must be a student of light"

Without exception it is the quality of natural or controlled light that creates the drama, emotion and visual appeal of an image. Subject matter and composition are secondary.

Photography truly is the "art of seeing" or better stated the art of recognizing the sometimes dramatic, but more often subtle and infinite diversities and changeability in the quality of light. A camera is merely a tool, for a true photographer "light is the medium".

These workshops offered in both studio and natural settings will enlighten and excite you, and will change the way you look through your viewfinder forever. You'll begin to create the images you really desired and envisioned.

Read more on this topic here:

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pics of the Week

Legendary Richie Havens at Kaslo Jazz Fest

Northern Purcell Mountains at Dawn