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7 places photographers need to visit in Campbell River

Get the most out of your visit with the Photography Collection on the Campbell River Collection App

Photo by Tyler Cave
Photo by Tyler Cave

Let’s start with some questions: Do you ever feel lost without your trusty DSLR? Have you ever tried to art direct your family’s Christmas photo? Are you constantly seeking out ‘the perfect light’ and timing your walks for sunset? 

If any of these scenarios sound familiar, you may be more than just a hobby photographer. And we can assure that you’ll feel right at home when visiting Campbell River, which is a bit of a photographer’s playground – if we do say so ourselves. 

But, where to start? First, download our Campbell River Collection app, where we’ve handpicked the most photogenic locations for you to explore and document. Then, read on for tips from an island photography expert, Tyler Cave, on how to best capture your time in our beautiful home.

Elk Falls cascades 25 metres, making for some stunning photos. Image Credit: Tyler Cave
Elk Falls cascades 25 metres, making for some stunning photos. Image Credit: Tyler Cave

Elk Falls Provincial Park 

Thundering waterfalls, year-round salmon fishing – it’s no wonder Elk Falls is one of the most popular provincial parks on Vancouver Island. Even better, it’s only a few minutes from Campbell River! 

Tyler’s tips: 

  1. The waterfall cascades about 25 metres! To capture the bridge and waterfall in one frame, head to the lower platform. 
  2. You can see some of B.C.’s old-growth Douglas Fir trees here, some older than 250 years. To capture the tree’s intricate details, experiment with close-ups, or try shooting with a macro lens. 
  3. Another stunning waterfall is Moose Falls. For a unique perspective of the falls, head to Dolphin Pool, (review park map at entry).
Find two totem poles from the We Wai Kai Nation and the Wei Wai Kum Nation on the Canyon View Trail. Image credit: Tyler Cave
Find two totem poles from the We Wai Kai Nation and the Wei Wai Kum Nation on the Canyon View Trail. Image credit: Tyler Cave

Canyon View Trail 

Canyon View Trail is popular with hikers and photographers alike, for the views, vanishing points, and varied terrain. Other highlights of the trail are the gorgeous canyon views, along with an Indigenous art installation. 

  1. Find two totem poles from the We Wai Kai Nation and the Wei Wai Kum Nation on the John Hart lookout. These beautiful carved poles are a great subject for close-range photography. Focus on capturing the colours and textures using a macro lens. Carved by Max Chickite with his assistants Jessica Chickite and Cody LaFrance, represents elements significant to We Wai Kai culture. The Wei Wai Kum Nation pole, carved by Thomas D. Hunt with his apprentice Ray Shaw.
  2. Seek out vanishing points. When parallel lines converge to give the illusion of depth (kind of like an optical illusion) your photo will be richer. There are plenty of opportunities to try this technique on the trail with the abundant bridges. Use a wide-angle lens to amplify the distance. 
  3. To photograph the canyon from above, head to the viewpoint on the stairs. And look for natural props like tree branches, ferns or plants to frame your shot.
Head to the Discovery Fishing Pier at sunrise for a quintessential Campbell River moment. Image Credit: Tyler Cave
Head to the Discovery Fishing Pier at sunrise for a quintessential Campbell River moment. Image Credit: Tyler Cave

Discovery Fishing Pier 

Sunrise at the Discovery Pier is as about Campbell River as you can get! Extending about 45 metres from the shore, you’ll find unobstructed views out to Quadra Island and the Discovery Passage. 

  1. Get there well before sunrise. Aim to be at the pier around twilight so you can watch every stage of the sun rising. Bonus points for catching local anglers in action too! 
  2. The Pier is another great place for experimenting with vanishing points. Be sure to keep both the foreground and background in focus for this.  
  3. Not only is the view spectacular, but you may also get a visit from local wildlife! Keep your eyes peeled for orcas, seals or even humpback whales. And be prepared to snap quickly, as it may be a very brief hello.
For something different, try photographing one of the many murals in Downtown Campbell River. Image credit: Tyler Cave
For something different, try photographing one of the many murals in Downtown Campbell River. Image credit: Tyler Cave

Downtown Landscapes 

We know – there’s so much amazing nature around here. But don’t go skipping our photogenic downtown either. Tyler suggests: 

  1. Looking out for murals, which are great for experimenting with lenses. If you have a pro camera, try using a fish-eye lens for a unique perspective. Or, bring out your wide-angle lens to fit more in the frame.
Photo by Jessica Preston
Photo by Jessica Preston

Drifted creations 

As well as being the salmon capital of British Columbia, we have another claim to fame: our town is full of driftwood creations! There’s Sarah the Herrerasaurus in Ken Forde Park, Peabody the Racoon at Rotary Beach Park or Chadwick the Cougar at the Tyee Spit.  

  • Take your photos from different angles and perspectives: try shooting from above, below or close up to capture the details.  
  • Another cool approach is to take photos of the driftwood creations in the context of their surroundings. For example, if it’s recently been raining (hint: it likely has been) try taking reflection shots in puddles to capture a new angle.
Photo by Bluetree Photography
Photo by Bluetree Photography

Rotary Park 

While we’re talking public art (you may be sensing a bit of a theme here) be sure to check out the Transformations by the Shore carvings at Rotary Beach Park, the result of a carving competition held each year. 

  • Always work with the weather you have! If it’s been raining, keep an eye out for rainbows. Or, if it’s a mix of rain and sun, you could capture interesting cloud patterns. 
  • Try a range of shots here: start by zooming in on the details of the carvings, then take a step back to capture the ocean and mountains in the backdrop.

Want to try for yourself? Check out our curated guide to the most photogenic locations in Campell River.