Interview with Derek Andrews

Awayn had the pleasure of interviewing Darek Andrews, an incredibly talented landscape photographer based in British Columbia, Canada.  He is well known for his ability to capture dramatic lighting along with beautiful scenery of beautiful British Columbia. 


Derek. Can you introduce yourself to Awayn's audience?

Yes! My name is Derek and I’m 25 years old living out in British Columbia, Canada. I love getting out there and exploring the vast backcountry my province has to offer. Almost every weekend I bag a new peak, check out a waterfall or hit up an alpine lake. I used to be an assistant wedding photographer in my earlier years and I use that experience to my advantage so I can capture the beauty I see while I’m out in the wilderness.

Was there any specific moment you can remember that made you want to become a photographer?

When I first started adventuring I used my phone to take pictures because I didn’t have a camera at the time. I kept picturing how I was going to create my shots but was frustrated because my device couldn’t deliver the image I had in mind. I kept thinking how I would be able to get the shot I wanted if I had a real camera, and this went on for a couple of months until I noticed that the lens on my phone became badly scratched. I knew that I could justify getting a camera because I had experience in the past and wanted to develop my skills in photography. So I bought my first camera and since then couldn’t be happier with that decision as it’s opened up a whole new world for me.

What first drew you to traveling and capturing your travels?

Growing up here you always hear about how vast your backyard is and that adventure is just around the corner outside your comfort zone. I had seen many pictures of snowy mountain tops, crystal clear lakes, and insane waterfalls my whole life and always wanted to see them with my own two eyes instead of on paper or through a screen. What held me back at first was not having anyone to go with, but after a while the desire to get out there was so bad that I ended up going solo. I was amazed with the view and it created the desire to check out more just like that, if not better. Because I was so blown away I also wanted to inspire other people to get outside and see it all for themselves, which is what lead me to taking pictures of my travels.

When you go in one of your travels, what all you take with you? Why?

I hit up the back country for the majority of my travels. Out there anything goes so you need to be prepared for injury and/or spending an extra night or two at high altitude. I always bring with me the ten essentials of backpacking, a Gore-Tex jacket, a down jacket (weather and temperature dependent), different layers of clothing for temperature and weather change, food & water, Gatorade for electrolytes, my camera, two memory cards in case I run out of room and a portable battery charger in cause my phone or camera runs out of juice. Oh, and LOTS of Snickers bars, it’s my guilty pleasure.

Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?

Zack Melhus, a local photographer, has been a fairly big inspiration for me to get back into photography. He’s been exploring the same areas for longer than I have and I feel like we share a lot of the same interests when it comes to photography. Seeing his pictures of places so close to home over the years was part of the reason that made me want to see it all for myself. I got to meet him around this time last year at an event he helped host, that was actually a few weeks prior to getting my camera. I remember talking to him about how I was thinking about buying one and he helped me find my answer as to whether or not I should do it. I’ve only been in the game for almost a year so I can’t really call this a career but I’d like to start taking more outdoor portraits of people to help me become more of a paid photographer.

What technology/software/camera gear do you use to keep focused on what you do best, as you photograph?

I told myself that if I was just starting out I didn’t need a really expensive camera. I wanted to get something that I could get used to and learn my way around, maximizing it’s potential before moving onto something bigger and better. I landed on the Sony a6000 with the 16-50mm 3.5-5.6 lens. It’s a fantastic camera that suits my needs well, it’s small and compact which is perfect for what I do. I also use my Google Pixel from time to time as well, it currently has the best camera on the phone market. For editing purposes, I use Adobe Lightroom. I’m very comfortable using my camera now, and within the next year I plan on moving onto the Sony a7r with a Sigma 35 mm 1.4 dg HSM lens.

What motivates you to continue taking pictures?

There’s so much to see. You could explore BC every weekend and see something new each time you set out. Every time I come back from a trip I’m left feeling inspired to see what else is around the corner. I want to inspire people to see these amazing views for themselves so by taking more pictures I feel like I can help them develop the same passion I had when I first started out. That passion for me has only gotten stronger since then and I want to see how far I can grow in my skills as a photographer in the years to come.

Closing Thoughts … How do you think photography and traveling have changed your view of the world?

Travelling made me initially think, you hear about that growing up but you don’t really understand just how big it is until you’re out there for yourself. I’ve only explored my home province and am blown away at how much there is here. To think that there’s even more of what I love on the other side of the border and across the ocean gets me way too excited. I want to partake in new experiences as much as I can and travel outside Canada more and more with each coming year. There’s so much to see and capture. By the time I have kids (and even grandkids) I hope to have endless stories to tell and photographs to show to them that will put a smile on their face and create a passion rivaling mine to get out there.

Big thanks to you for having me on here! Hope I could inspire someone to go on their own little adventures with great memories.