A professional Chilliwack-based photographer with 40 years experience is offering up his camera knowledge by hosting a wide variety of photo walks taking place throughout the Fraser Valley.
Fraser Valley Photo Walks is a new endeavour started by architectural/interiors photographer Carsten Arnold and his wife, Melanie.
“Several years ago I had the idea that I’d love to take people on photography walks and teach them about photography,” says Carsten Arnold.
“We moved here in September from Port Moody and we decided we’re going to get involved in the community. We wanted to do something with the arts, and one of the ideas that we had is to launch the photo walks business,” he says.
He was told that he has a knack for teaching, plus he enjoys it, so combining that with his passion for photography seemed like a perfect fit.
“I try to keep it as simple as possible,” says Arnold. “Basically it’s a two-hour walk in unique locations throughout the Fraser Valley. We talk about the basics of composition, we talk about the basics of using your camera, and we just have some fun with various walks in the area.”
The walks take place at several different locations scoped out by Arnold between Langley and Hope. They include Granny & Grumpa’s Antiques in Abbotsford, the historic Powerhouse at Stave Falls in Mission, plus locations throughout Chilliwack and the surrounding areas.
One of the upcoming walks will be the Historic Downtown Chilliwack photo walk scheduled for this weekend.
On a recent leisurely walk through Chilliwack’s downtown core, Arnold points out details and camera angles that most people walk right past. He sees abstract reflections in store windows, colourful details in walkway tiles, and interesting textures in shadows on brick walls.
“That’s what I love about it — teaching the artistic side of photography,” he says.
At Bridal Veil Falls (another photo walk scheduled for this weekend) people will experience a completely different surrounding.
“Bridal Veil Falls is a big one for people, not just the falls but the trail that leads up to it. It’s an easy 10- to 15-minute walk. There’s so much photography available there.”
Flood Falls in Hope (also on the list this weekend) is also an easy hike with a “spectacular” waterfall.
“That’s the style of photography that I really, really enjoy — it’s thought-provoking. It elicits a feeling and that’s the style that I like to do. To me, that’s more art than technical.”
On his photo walks he wants to spark conversations with questions like: what is it about that shot that you love? Why did that image evoke something in you to make you want to photograph it? What is your style — do you like to photograph cars, shapes, textures?
“I’m going to bring that out in these photo walks,” he says. “[Plus] teach them the basics of the composition rules — there are about six or eight key ones.”
These tours are for all levels of photographers and any camera, smartphone or other mobile device can be used.
“It can be anything. You can bring your iPad if you want, because the rules of composition are the same no matter what,” he says.
Arnold has a rich photography background. He worked with Canada Wide Media for 14 years, taught night school photo classes at Vancouver Community College for two years, and for the past seven years has worked as a full-time architectural and interiors photographer. In his very early years he worked in the camera department at Woolco — that’s where he bought his first camera.
“I bought my first camera in 1974 and I still have it. It’s a Pentax SP1000 and it’s still sitting on my shelf today.”
All of his brothers are photographers, too: Hans does fine art photography (landscape, nature, abstract), Volker shoots real estate images, and Ed (who passed away in March) did nature, landscape and family portraits.
“My brothers are my inspiration,” says Arnold.
“I like sharing my knowledge. It’s rewarding for me. There are so many cameras out there and it’s funny how many people don’t know how to use them.”
Most people don’t read the manual when they buy a new camera — they open up the box, pull out their new camera and expect to know how to use it. Arnold wants to show people how to take their DSLRs off the auto setting and use them manually.
Each two-hour walk ranges in price from $40-80. They are typically scheduled for Fridays and Saturdays at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day. Photo walks will be offered throughout the summer into September, and after that the schedule may change.
Some photo walks will cater to advanced photographers only. Custom tours can be requested at any time. Hiking photo walks can also be arranged.
For more on Carsten Arnold, and to see some of his work, go to carstenarnold.com.