In Print: Exploration Photography by Strain

Andrew Strain Photography

I've been shooting photos of my work in the mineral exploration industry for as long as I've had a camera - the wild places I travel to for work were the original inspiration for my photography. While the majority of my published and paid work has been in the winter sports world, my only cover has been on a mineral exploration trade magazine. Now, I can add three more covers to my stash of tear sheets: Canadian Mining Magazine's Winter 2013 issue, and the 2012 Annual Report / 2013 Media Kit for the Prospectors and Develepors Association of Canada (PDAC).

It's always been exiting for me to share images of the remote places I get to travel to for work, so seeing those images spread to such a large audience is an amazing feeling. I have the very unique position of being a professional photographer working a 'real job' in a crazy industry, which gives me the ability to capture scenes that a photographer hired for a shoot simply could not. These shots aren't staged - in both sampling photos, the workers are taking real samples that were part of real geochemistry programs, and after the shots was taken I put the camera away, recorded some notes, and moved on to the next sample station.

All in a days work.


I also recently updated my Mining / Mineral Exploration portfolio with recent work. Check it.

Deep Winter 2013 by Strain

I'm writing this from the muggy confines of a rental house in a gated community in Tapachula, Mexico - please forgive me for not giving the subject a proper run-down. I wanted to get a few words out before I forget what snow even looks like. More on why I'm in Mexico to follow, if I have time. It's a bit of a crazy story.

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Melanie's Wedding by Strain

This is what you get when you let your brother photograph your wedding...

To update my blog from a summer of neglect, I'll go back to the beginning - my sister Melanie got married in June, in the beautiful setting of the Canadian Rockies. The weather did its best to confound the whole event - flooding across the interior, washed out bridges and a detour from hell made getting to Nipika Mountain Resort a logistical nightmare. The rain on the day of the wedding was unrelenting, forcing the outdoor ceremony into a cramped but rustic cabin - but everything flowed so seamlessly that it seemed as if it was planned from the start. I don't really shoot weddings, especially not for close friends or family - it's tough to enjoy the day when you're there to work. I agreed to shoot just the wedding party photos, though I knew full well it would turn into a much more involved process. In the end, the photos turned out great and the wedding was an amazing success - a testament to the incredible love Melanie and Landon share.

I could probably be convinced to shoot a similar style of rustic, outdoors wedding every now and then. The further into the mountains, the better.

In Print: Snowboard Canada (Buyers Guide 2012) by Strain

This photo is a couple years old, but I knew it would one day find a home in print. When I was in the 'Whistler Backcountry' for the Ski Salt Lake Shootout, we spied a lone splitboarder bootpacking under a cliff face to get on top of a single line, etched with perfect Wasatch precision into the north bowl of Red Baldy. His touring party happened to be another Whistler crew, so we posted up with them to watch this rather interesting line choice unfold. The rider, Dave Henkel, dropped in and fully committed to the straightline, maching through the farmed turns at Xavier speed. I shot a couple frames wide at the start, then zoomed in to capture a tighter frame as he approached the bottom of the line.

This photo is very much a right place, right time capture - if I had toured through here half an hour early or later, I wouldn't have gotten this photograph. Sometimes, that's all it takes.

 (Andrew Strain)
 (Andrew Strain)

In Print: Kootenay Mountain Culture by Strain

My blog has fallen into a state of serious neglect lately. I blame instagram (@andrewstrain for updates that occur more frequently than semi-annually).

So, updates. There are a few of them. A season of mineral exploration took me from tidewater to massive icefields; from jagged peaks to deep underground. More on that in the coming weeks. For now, I'll start with my most recent photographic news - a trio of photos in my favourite publication: Kootenay Mountain Culture Magazine.

I've been a big fan of KMC (and now it's sister mag Coast Mountain Culture) since I first picked up a copy in Nelson 3 years ago, so I'm pretty stoked to see some of my images inked onto it's pages. Props to the editorial team for consistently putting together two radical magazines, and thanks for letting me be a contributor to a publication I've always admired.

Maybe get the caption right next time though... the world needs to know that Eric Poulin has a sick (switch) method. ;-)


Spring Run by Strain

Trail running in Pemberton, British Columbia (Andrew Strain)

Something a little different for me - this is my favourite trail to run and while I [like to] run often, I no longer live in Pemberton and I've never bothered to shoot photos of running.

With the arrival of spring weather, my girlfriend and I decided to head back to my favourite trail and shoot a couple photos, a little outside of my winter sports comfort zone.

With spring comes field season - my winter is officially over, and it's back to camp for me. Once we get it built, that is...

Birthday Heli by Strain

I don't think there is a better way to turn 28 than to heli into a zone dubbed "Chuter McGavin", shoot photos from the bird of your best friends shredding badass couloirs, then drop into a line named "I eat pieces of shit like you for breakfast!" Toss on the skins and go for as many laps as your legs can handle.

Happy (Gilmore) birthday to me!

For some words by Jeff Slack, head over to Unofficial Networks. Some photos from the day below.

Deep Winter 2011 Slideshow by Strain  

It's been almost a year since I managed to steal third prize in Whistler Blackcomb's Deep Winter Photo Challenge. Today, I was out on the mountain scouting some stuff with Jussi Grznar, who is making his own run for the title of "King of Storms" next week, bringing back all kinds of wonderful memories like shooting in such heavy snowfall that my camera completely iced over. Or, sitting in the Glacier Creek bathroom for an hour trying to de-fog my lenses with a hand dryer (a more detailed re-cap here).


Would I do it again? Hell yes. I live for Whistler's storm season. In the meantime, enjoy my 2011 slideshow, and get your tickets for this year's event before it sells out. January 14 @ the Fairmont. See you there.

Fall Snow by Strain

A few more photos of October snowfall in the upper reaches of the Lillooet River / Salal Creek. Hopefully my next post will be less of a tease and more about actual snowfall. 

Jeff Curtes: 20 years in 9 minutes by Strain

As a young photographer, just starting down the path of what will hopefully become a long and successful career, it's always humbling to look at the lifetime portfolio of a photog thats been shooting for as long as I've been able to speak.

When it comes to snowboard photographers, Jeff Curtes is a living legend. With a career that spans 20 years and more of the world than I'm ever likely to see, Jeff continues to produce some of the best imagery in the snowboarding industry, documenting the growth of a sport from infancy to maturity.

20 years in 9 minutes:

(Make sure you click the "watch in high quality" option just below the view count)