A year in pictures

Batchelor Heights man chronicles life with 265 photos

The first picture Brian Avery took was of a submarine off the coast of Vancouver.

He was 14 at the time and on a trip to B.C. with his grandfather. Having grown up on the prairies, he'd not seen sights like the mountains and Pacific Ocean.

"We only have small, muddy lakes on the prairies," said Avery.

So he bought a camera and started taking pictures. Even now, 53 years later, he remembers the first photo he took.

"There was a submarine, the USS Sea Fox," Avery said. "I just found out some information about it. It was sold to Turkey."

That first photograph became a beloved hobby, one that never abandoned Avery despite a career in communications and family.

Once he retired, Avery desired a way to stay motivated in his hobby. That's when he came across the U.K.-based website blipfoto.com.

He'd wanted to create a chronology of photographs - a year in pictures - for some time but didn't have the means to organize it. He said blipfoto is a perfect medium for what he wanted to do.

"It was more of a way to formalize (taking pictures) and to keep me motivated," he said. "When you get committed to something like this it's very easy to quit, especially in the winter time."

Avery began in May 2012 and stayed committed, rain or shine, snow or summer heat. Each photograph is marked by a calendar day for people to explore.

He never ventured too far from his Bachelor Heights home. In fact, many of the 365 shots are from the immediate neighbourhood.

Sometimes he ventured onto Lac Du Bois Road and into the grassland. He took several winter shots in and around Peachland.

"I got all along the lakeshore and ice hanging from trees. A seagull out shivering in a snowstorm," he said. "We have friends with a campground. I took all kinds of photos of their campground."

Campgrounds are known for the hustle and bustle of the summer. Avery's pictures captured a quieter venue blanketed in snow.

"It's like being a tourist in Europe. You see it during the on-season. The rest of the time it's pretty dreary," he said.

Many of the pictures are from in and around his yard, which Avery and his partner turned into a type of lush urban garden. A lot are shots of insects, some he'd never seen before.

One katydid Avery captured with his Nikon D200 looked so unique he decided to find out what it is. His online research revealed the bug isn't supposed to live in B.C.

"Maybe I discovered something," he said, adding the tiny, grasshopper-like creature had dollar-shaped wings.

His favourite picture is of a spider that's ensnared a bee. Another spider is crawling up behind the first while it feeds.

Avery learned a few things about taking pictures, particularly the importance of having a camera on hand and ready to shoot at all times. He missed a lot of insect shots because he didn't.

When shooting landscapes, it's best to keep as much of the sky out of frame as possible as the brightness overpowers the rest of the image, he said.

Most importantly, he acquired the discipline needed to keep taking pictures. Avery has managed to take at least one picture a day since the project ended.

"I'm still going," he said. "I don't know of I'll make another year of it, but I'm still going."

To view Avery's work visit blipfoto.com/Bompa.

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