Vancouver Wild: Adventure, Photography and Restoring Balance with Callum Snape
Adventure photographer Callum Snape shares the passion and journeys behind his stunning pictures.
I’ll take you back to where it all began: I was 16, sitting in a geography lesson in military school in Europe where I spent seven regimented years of my teenage life. Flipping through a textbook, I came across photos of the most beautiful mountains I had ever seen. The caption below said “The Canadian Rockies”.
Two years later, I had immigrated to Canada on my own. I rented an apartment in the resort town of Banff in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.
For seven years I called this beautiful town home. It was the first place I had ever really felt at home, after moving around so much at a younger age and spending a long amount of time living at military school. It was the first place I picked up a camera. At 18 years old, I had two passions: photography and the outdoors. Little did I know the role that these two passions would have in my life.
After a few years transitioning from working as a snowboard instructor during the winter months, for the parks service in the summers, and a full-time freelance photographer, I was living my dream life. I was flying all over the world every week on photo assignments, working with some of the biggest brands in the world. However, there was one problem: My business and lifestyle didn’t work in the small, remote town of Banff anymore. I needed to expand my business, but I also wanted to maintain the close connection with nature that I thrive on. I had no choice but to find balance or make sacrifices.
My answer came in the form of another move, this time to Vancouver, British Columbia. This city had it all for me – access to a major airport within 20 minutes, a less transient population for friendships and relationships, a strong outdoor community, and an opportunity to expand business.
Vancouver is where the Pacific Ocean meets mainland Canada just north of the Washington border. I found a great apartment in the city’s West End, and it was exactly what I wanted… or was it?
It was my first time living in a city and it didn’t take long for cabin fever to set in. I couldn’t breathe. I started to feel suffocated in my own home. The sounds of the city became overwhelming—the crowds, the lights, the concrete walls. It was all too much. I needed to escape; I needed to breathe.
In my rush to find a new life in the city, I had neglected my passion for nature. I had gone cold turkey on it for over a month. I felt drained and depleted. I hadn’t set aside time to get outside, to explore the nearby hiking trails, lakes, and mountains. To escape the city.
Fortunately, Vancouver offers beautiful wilderness areas right on my doorstep. A very short drive, and I’m in the Coast Mountains, surrounded by enormous lakes and peaks that stretch for as far as the eye can see. Lichen-filled forests so green they look photoshopped and the smell of damp earth drifting along the forest floor.
Places to breathe… Balance is restored, for now at least.
I realize that while life can never be perfectly balanced, it’s about setting aside time to spend in nature, to go hiking, kayaking, climbing, and just to be outdoors. Nature reminds you to slow down, embrace the elements. It brings with it a whole new perspective on daily life.
Follow all of Callum Snape’s outdoor adventures on his:
And check out the rest of #thebreatheproject videos, right here.