Behind the Lens: 7 Off-the-Beaten Path Hikes Around Vancouver & Beyond

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Discover BC through the eyes of its locals and visitors. We’re featuring Vancouver-based photographer @maxzedler. He’s sharing some of his favourite off-the-beaten-path hikes from Vancouver to Pemberton, along with tips aimed to help photographers capture that perfect BC shot.

Watersprite Lake, Squamish.

“Lately I’ve been focusing more on finding lesser-known hikes that require a bit more effort. This is a shot up at Watersprite Lake in Squamish. It was a very cloudy day, but even though it was freezing cold, it was calm. This allowed me to capture a reflection of the peak mid-day, when usually reflection hunting is best done during the early morning.”

Callaghan Lake, Whistler.

“After paddling about two kilometres in the rain, we hiked another kilometre or so to reach this lookout above Callaghan Lake in Whistler. Luckily, just as we set up to take some shots, the sun peeked out and the rain cleared. I was able to capture the bright light of the sun shining over the mountains as it began to creep towards the lake.”

Hiker enjoying the view of Wedgemount Lake, Whistler

“Wedgemount Lake in Whistler proved to be much steeper and more challenging than expected. Do not expect a walk in the park with this one! The beautiful blue of Wedgemount is more than worth it, and all your complaints from the hike will be a distant memory. We hiked up on a sunny day, which made the colour of the lake pop more and helped us warm up a little after jumping in the freezing water.”

Cirque Lake, Whistler.

“A roof of clouds were hanging above Cirque Lake in Whistler when we arrived. The whole day was off-and-on rain, and the five minutes in between rainstorms gave me a window to shoot the moody feeling of the lake. Cirque Lake is only accessible by boating across Callaghan Lake, and then hiking to the lake from the other side. This gives it a feeling of being deep in the wilderness with peaceful solitude. Seeing my friend down on the rock below helps to show how isolated this lake is.”

Golden Ears Peak, Golden Ears Provincial Park.

“If you’re up for a challenge, try Golden Ears Peak. After the first three kilometres, you begin a very steep incline that continues for the rest of the hike. We camped overnight near the ridge, and saw the best sunset and sunrise I have ever seen. At the summit, we witnessed beaming rays from the sunrise layering the mountains in a bright light. Slightly under-exposing the shot allowed me bring out the far away mountains in post processing.”

Black bears in Pemberton.

“During a hike around Pemberton I had the opportunity to safely photograph a family of black bears who were passing though. The mother is known in the area as Cinnamon because of her brown fur. While keeping a more-than-safe distance and using my 70-300mm zoom lens, I was able to capture her roaming around with her cubs, who were munching on an afternoon snack. I used the bushes in front to give more of a ‘peeking through the brush’ look.”

Hiker overlooking a beautiful lake.

“Waking up in the dark to hike up a mountain for sunrise has its perks. The still water looked like glass and almost seemed thick because of the matte blue and very minor reflection. As you may have noticed, I love to add a person to my shots to make the shots my own, and sometimes it can be a great way to showcase perspective.”

Q & A:

Where is your favourite place to shoot in BC, and why?

I love shooting all around the Whistler area. There is a seemingly endless number of lakes and trails to hike, and I don’t think I’ll ever have enough time to see them all. It’s a perfect area to explore in any season. You can swim in a glacier lake in the summer or go skiing in the winter.

What are your ideal shooting conditions?

I personally have no perfect condition as I try to make the most out of any weather I get. You rarely get the weather you were hoping for, so you need to adapt to every situation. Being from Vancouver, I know all about the weather being unpredictable.

Gear: What do you shoot with?

Currently I am shooting with a Nikon D610 full-frame camera with a 24-85mm f3.5 lens. As much as I would love the most expensive camera on the market, I simply cannot afford it so I make the best out of the gear I have. I usually bring my hammock as well for naps in the middle of the wilderness.

How does living in BC inspire you as a photographer?

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that being born in BC was the greatest blessing I could ask for. I get the opportunity to explore a new area every week, and, if I had the time, I could explore somewhere new every day. BC is so vast, with landscapes ranging from mountains and vineyards to lakes and beaches. BC really has it all.

About @maxzedler:

I’m Max, a photographer/adventurer from the Vancouver area. I love hiking around BC and finding beautiful glacier lakes, or a view that tops the last one. Basically, if I’m outside with my camera, it’s safe to say I’m in a good mood.

For more of Edgar’s work, follow him on Instagram at @maxzedler. He can also be reached at [email protected]

Looking for more BC experiences and destinations? Follow us on Instagram at @hellobc.