A conversation with photographer and river guide, Tyler Garnham

Joel Hibbard joined river guide and photographer, Tyler Garnham, for a conversation about photography.

Hi Tyler! Thanks for you doing an isolation interview with us! I have been spending a lot of time with my camera over the last couple of weeks and it has been a great thing to focus on while we wait things out. Lets dive into this!

What got you into photography?

When I was 10, my dad gave me a camera to take with me for a two week road trip across Canada with my grandparents. Even though the results were terrible, I was hooked.

Tyler Garnham - river guide and photographer.
Tyler Garnham – river guide and photographer.

I heard that photography opened the door to guiding expeditions as well?

Yeah, I worked as a photographer for a raft company on the Nahatlatch River in Southern BC. The guides looked like they were having my kind of fun, so I took the exams and earned my guides license. It was perfect, I could shoot photos and guide, sometimes on the same day.

What is your most memorable moment shooting on a Northern River?

I don’t think there is just one for me. There are those moments that will stick with you forever, even without a photograph. If I can just capture that feeling, I’m happy with my work.

Do you have a favourite place to take photos in the North?

Haha, loaded question alert!  This is impossible to answer; I love the Alsek River for the relief and the scale, truly like nowhere else. I also love the Firth River for the enormity of the wilderness. They are opposites, I know, but equally breathtaking landscapes.

So you lead photographic safaris in Africa too? Can you tell me about them?

Sure do! I lead small groups into the Okavango Delta in Botswana. We move through the park system with local guides and a landcruiser and camp in remote settings. Along the way people learn how to take better photographs. I coach people with the gear that they have. They are always surprised at how well they come along, but really, it is just about having your camera in hand every day and seeing things that are new and exciting.

I hope I can experience that with you someday!

What makes an interesting photo to you?

It could be anything that catches my attention. Light, colour, pattern, rhythm, movement, fear, love, balance, humour, tension, or all of them all together at once!

How do you look after your equipment on the river?

I use a Pelican Case mostly. I have it mounted next to me so I can access it quickly if something catches my eye. I try to keep it all clean and dry but that is always a challenge in these environments.

What is one piece of gear you always make sure to bring?

A good camera backpack. This helps me take my gear with me and still be comfortable. If it’s not comfortable and easy to access, you won’t bring it or use it!

How about when you are shooting and it is raining? Any tips?

I have an old waterproof stuff sack for a sleeping bag. I cut a hole in the bottom and put my lens through it, a homemade solution that works great!

What is one mistake you often see photographers on the river making?

I always tell people to shoot at a much higher shutter speed when we are on the water. If you don’t your photos will look soft.

If you could only bring one lens what would you suggest? 

I wouldn’t bring my camera, you really need the right tool for the job.

Thanks Tyler! This has been great. If people want to learn more about your work where can they see it?

Have a look at my website www.tylergarnham.com or follow me on Instagram.

Talk to you soon Tyler and we will see you on the other side!


Firth River – Tundra Beauty, Wildlife, Wildflowers & Hiking
The Firth is a wild and remote Arctic river that flows through the centre of Ivvavik National Park. You’ll see muskox, caribou, wolves, eagles, falcons and beautiful Arctic plants. Excellent hiking abounds!

Alsek River Rafting 12-Day Expedition
Renowned for its large rapids, Himalaya-like mountain valleys and glaciers – wilderness that’s extraordinarily different from any other river.

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