Ian Harland is one teenager you don’t have to push off the couch and out the door.
He’s already there, and you can tell who he is by the camera around his neck and the stunning photos on his wall (OK, his Facebook wall).
Harland, 16, is producing some thoroughly impressive wildlife photos, many of them taken right here in the Okanagan. Not bad for a kid whose headed into Grade 11 this fall.
“I guess it’s mostly just patience,” he said.
“A lot of the time, people they don’t really look around when they’re hiking,” Harland added. “That’s definitely something that I do lots of and I also listen a lot for things.”
Harland lives in the Vancouver area, but travels to the Okanagan about four times per year to see family. His dad, Jack, grew up in Kelowna.
It was his aunts who inspired him to pick up a camera.
He has more than 7,600 fans on Instagram thanks to some expertly timed shots of birds, bear, deer and other assorted wildlife.
His most recent Okanagan photo — taken July 3 — was of a spotted sandpiper poised over its chick.
Harland took it standing in knee-deep, roiling water of Okanagan Lake as the wind whipped around him on a particularly blustery day. The family of birds was just on shore and Harland spent about an hour taking their photos. He saw them last year visiting his family’s property in West Kelowna just past Bear Creek.
“Luckily I didn’t fall,” he said with a laugh.
Birds are one thing, but what about the larger animals?
This is actually a red-tailed hawk even though it does not have a red tail. This hawk (Harlan's Hawk) has been disputed for being its own species for a while because of its many differences with the red tailed hawk but currently it is considered a subspecies of the red tailed hawk. I kinda want this hawk to be its own species because than I can have the same last name as it
Pretend like you’re looking for your wallet, Harland says. Yes, shuffle slowly while staring at the ground.
Then, when the animal is accustomed to your presence, you can start snapping.
“Then they won’t think you’re interested in them,” Harland said.
It’s a technique he learned online, where he learns many of his techniques (especially YouTube). After some ninth grade photography classes, Harland has spent most of his time teaching himself.
While the teenager doesn’t have any designs on a career in photography, he does expect it to play a large part in his life, likely as supplemental income or an important hobby.
He hopes to have a website up and running soon to sell some of his images.
What is it about something so real — wildlife photography — that appeals to a teenager in the digital age?
“I find it quite interesting. No two pictures will ever be the same. … It’s also fun, too, to just watch the animals.”