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Former Terrace resident Brandon Broderick wins Canadian Geographics Photographer of the Year

Broderick captures wildlife and landscape of Northern BC
Aurora shining bright over the Old Bridge in Terrace, BC (Brandon Broderick)

Former Terrace resident Brandon Broderick has been named Canadian Geographic’s 2023 Photographer of the Year. The 37-year-old Windsor-born photographer has called northern British Columbia his home for more than a decade.

Broderick started photography early in 2006 when he was in college. After getting his first camera in 2007 he was intrigued by capturing landscape photos.

“I am more focused on wildlife now, but I still enjoy taking landscape photos,” Broderick told The Terrace Standard.

A job search landed Broderick in Terrace as he had been fascinated by the north in all the years he lived in Ontario.

He stayed in Terrace for almost 11 years before moving to Tumbler Ridge in the northeast.

“Terrace is such a beautiful area, the scenery and the land definitely help in an abundance of subjects for sure,” he said.

“Terrace has everything that you possibly want as photographer and has fewer people than Vancouver. There were some days when I could be out and not see someone for hours. It’s perfect.”

Broderick was a runner-up in the landscape category in 2022 with a photo taken in the Nass Valley.

In 2023, he focused on trying to get as many different photos of animals and landscapes.

“It paid off,” he said. “I really wanted to win the whole thing this year.”

He didn’t think he could win, instead thought he was a finalist with two wildlife photos in the wildlife category.

“Just being a finalist is an honour, but winning the grand prize felt unreal,” he said. “I was blown away when I opened the email and it was quite a morning for sure.”

Broderick’s family was always supportive of his passion, because he said they never had to worry about him as he always had a full-time job.

“It’s hard to make a living out of it, waterfalls and bears cannot pay me.” Broderick said. “Nowadays anyone with a phone or a camera calls themselves a photographer and gives their stuff for free which underserves a lot of us who try to do this as a job.”

It has taken Broderick almost 15 year of practice and patience to finally make a name for himself to gain the trust of various companies to pay for his photos.

“It’s been a long journey and I’m not making lots of money,” he said.

To cut his expenses Broderick prefers to shoot on secondary highways most of the time, as there are certain areas on the coast that need permits.

Spending a few days with a guide can cost thousands and thousands of dollars, a tricky proposition because there is no guarantee wildlife will cooperate.

Touching upon weather, Broderick likes to be out there when its raining or snowing, as it adds another dynamic to the photo.

He also does not use bait or animal calls.

“It’s all just done by finding the animal and trying to get that animal to allow me to spend a few moments with it,” he said. “If an animal walks into the bush, then that’s the end of the photoshoot.”

Broderick tries to watch the animals, especially bears, from a distance and gauge their mood before trying to approach them for a photo.

There have been times when he drove for eight days or 5,000 kilometres of driving. Lots of podcasts and music help when he is inside the vehicle, but when he is out there waiting for the animal, glancing at or listening to the nature helps.

“A lot of times when you hear a squirrel making a call, it’s usually alarming you of something else in the area,” he said.

Knowing his gear has helped him a lot as sometimes the moments are so quick that the animals don’t give him enough time to sit back and fumble with the controls and settings.

“I spent so much time using it that I can now operate my camera with my eyes closed,” he adds.

Broderick’s advice for photographers is simple — “get out there and spend time outside, try to find stuff, and keep trying.”

Seven Sisters Mountains of Terrace amidst the beautiful fall colours. (Brandon Broderick)

About the Author: Prabhnoor Kaur

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