In Focus: Caillum Smith

Caillum’s photography caught my eye when we posted his shot of the Adra Tunnel last year, and I’ve been impressed with the stuff he’s shared since then. This winter, his landscapes switched over the U.K., where he was living and working for a few months. I thought it might be interesting to hear about his experience abroad and get him to reflect on his local photography as well.

Caillum covers a broad range of styles and approaches with his pictures — instead of going for a cohesive theme, I’ve collected a representative sampling. That said, there are common threads that run through all of his work: a love of landscape, great attention to detail, willingness to experiment, and an eye for unique moments. You can tell that this artist is committed to his craft. It’s time to put Caillum Smith In Focus.

How long have you been doing photography in the Okanagan?

I first began fooling around with a film camera about 4 or 5 years ago but took things a bit further when Dad bought me a dslr as a “go to university” bribe.  I soon dropped my studies in pursuit of satisfying my photographic endeavors.

 Favourite locations or subjects in the valley?

I love incorporating the valley itself into my photos, whether its the subject or the background; our little pond nestled between the mountains is simply breathtaking from both the shores and the peaks. I think the Kettle Valley Railway above Naramata and Okanagan Mountain Park are among my most photographed locations because of their close proximity to where I live and my familiarity of the mountainside, but the Vaseux Lake area and Similkameen are equally spectacular. My favorite spots are the ones I have yet to find.

Influences or artists/photographers you admire?

I leech most of my inspiration from a few local photographers; Greg Gaspari’s rich, detailed wildlife and landscapes, Tania Simpson’s informative and playful images and Jeremy Hiebert’s unusual perspectives have been a steady source of inspiration. and Chip Phillips from Spokane have plenty of inspiring images for those rock bottom days.

What kinds of responses do you most commonly get when people see your photos?

Most responses are concerning the brilliant, saturated colors and scenic views.

You just spent a few months living and traveling in the U.K. — how was that experience in terms of your photography?

Living in the U.K. was very progressive in several ways. Traveling allows you to encounter unfamiliar and uncomfortable situations forcing you to constantly adapt, defining character in the process which in turn is exposed through art. Not having a vast wilderness easily accessible was a big change for me and my first two months in the U.K. passed by without a single photo taken. I had expectations of what types of images I wanted to create, usually outdoor/nature intended, and not being able to meet these expectations put me in a situation where I was able to implement new techniques and styles into my work such as portraiture and low light urban. I also had a lot of time to learn more about post processing.

Any comments on what types of photographic gear you use and appreciate most?

Brands, models and new, high tech gizmo gadgets only do so much. If you want nice photos stand in front of nice things. A few gadgets in my bag that I do appreciate are my polarizer, remote intervalometer for low light situations, my tripod regardless of its inconvenience and my work horse 10-20mm wide angle lens.

Where do you see yourself going with your photography in the next year or two?

This summer I will be selling prints at several local markets and there is a possibility of showing at some local exhibits so keep your eyes open for that.

Thanks to Caillum for sharing his images and thoughts with Awesome Okanagan. You can find more of his stuff here:

In Focus features interesting Okanagan photographers and their work each month(ish). Individual photos are also featured each week on Focus Friday. The author primarily picks stuff from the I Love the Okanagan group on Flickr — if you have suggestions or ideas for photography features, please pass them along to

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