We recently had a chance to catch up with OFFBEAT contributor and night, landscape, and adventure photographer, Kahli Hindmarsh, to find out more about her photography business, creative inspiration, and wisdom she’d like to share with new photographers. Originally from Australia, Kahli now resides in Canmore, Alberta, and, naturally, she can usually be found outdoors, exploring and searching for intriguing scenes in interesting light.
What are some tips that you would give to a beginner photographer?
Enjoy the process, take your time, be creative and don’t let the technical side of photography overwhelm you. If you focus on putting the experience before getting the photo, you’ll come out winning no matter what. Creating beautiful images is easy when you find yourself enjoying beautiful places.
What kind of photography do you specialize in?
Predominantly, I am a landscape and nightscape photographer, though I also shoot mountain weddings and engagements and have various commercial clients. I draw inspiration from being outside and exploring new places, so there’s nothing better to me than hiking in the mountains with my camera. Early mornings and late nights chasing colourful skies is my happy place and you’re more likely to find me, camera in hand, on an icy frozen lake than a warm, sunny beach.
What does being OFFBEAT mean to you?
Being OFFBEAT to me means being creative, making new connections, and exploring new ideas. This community is such a unique group in that any ego is left at the door. Everyone is connecting on the same level and supporting in such an inspiring way with one common passion in mind. OFFBEAT feels like a family of like-minded people, all enjoying the magic of photography together.
How do you get out of a creative rut?
There’s no exact recipe, unfortunately, and what works for one person might not work for another. For me, I find time outdoors is key, with or without the camera. An early morning spent watching the sun rise over the mountains can hit the restart button for me.
If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?
Photography is a by-product of my time spent outdoors and travelling, so if I wasn’t a photographer I’d still be enjoying hiking, camping and travelling to distant places, just without a camera in hand. Photography isn’t a career path for me, but rather a way of expressing the beauty I experience along the way.
Anything in your gear kit that might surprise people? Why do you include it?
Fairy lights. They have saved my butt many times, in many ways. From commercial shoots, weddings and I once used them to help tie my tent in the backcountry.
Is there something you always ask yourself or think about just as you’re pressing the shutter?
Is this the best framing? I find so many times it’s important to take more than one shot of your subject from a different angle or a different vantage point. It’s often my second or third try, after re-framing that turns out to be the keeper.
Can you describe the moment when you felt that photography was calling to you?
I started photography with film and in the darkroom at school and loved the process. I didn’t stick with it, though, and years later when I moved to Canada, I felt inspired again to pick up a camera and show people back home the beauty of the mountains I was experiencing. I then came across one of Paul Zizka‘s nighttime images and from there, I knew I wanted to be able to capture that magic.
If you could take your art into a new direction, without any fear of failure or rejection, what would that look like? Why?
Ideally, I like to think my images would inspire people to see the beauty in our world and hope to protect it. Perhaps I would work towards ways of creating images that strengthen that message and give people the vision to be more proactive about protecting and respecting our planet.
Describe a challenging situation that you overcame when shooting and what you learned from it.
As with any landscape photographer, weather can be truly frustrating, especially when you are on a limited timeline. The purpose of my recent trip to Iceland was purely to capture the northern lights. With a combination of clouds and low aurora activity, I couldn’t help but feel hard done by on my third night out of seven with no improvement in sight. I decided to take a risk and changed my travel plans to drive to the other side of the country where the cloud forecast looked marginally better. The aurora forecast was still hopeless but I stayed awake all night and for 30 minutes, I was rewarded with green ribbons dancing across the sky.
How has photography changed your perspective on the world and on life?
Photography has allowed me to see the beauty in our world more than I ever would have. It’s taken me to remote places I never would have travelled to and has taught me about the changes our planet is going through. I’ve seen glaciers shrink and night skies polluted with light, but I’ve also seen sights that some people can’t believe are real and will never experience for themselves. I’ve met countless people and made new friendships through photography. The way it’s changed my life and perspective can’t be measured.
Do you have a favourite resource/blog/podcast you to turn to?
I listen to many different podcasts and enjoy listening to others thoughts and processes; however, I find nothing compares to getting out for a shoot with others and having real-life conversations. Between meeting like-minded people and the OFFBEAT community, I find I don’t seek other resources consistently.
You can also find my work at kahliaprilphoto.com.