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Coffee, Cameras And Hiking In Alberta With Photographer Nathaniel Atakora

Nothing like a beautiful night Photo: Nathaniel Atakora

A beautiful Alberta night Photo: Nathaniel Atakora

Alberta’s natural beauty attracts photographers from all around the globe. Lucky for Nathaniel Atakora Martin aka @NathanielAtakora he was born and raised in Alberta. Inspired by his surroundings Nathaniel started trekking around taking photographs of the natural landscapes and eventually turned this passion into his career. We caught up with Nathaniel to learn a bit more about his home province of Alberta and where we should go the next time we visit the beautiful province…

Nate, what is something about Alberta most people don’t know?
Alberta may be a landlocked province but the snow from the top of Snow Dome, a mountain situated in the Columbia Icefield, flows into three different oceans.

If you had to pick one thing, what is your favourite thing about Alberta:
That’s truly a difficult question to answer. At risk of sounding cliché I’d have to say it’s the people. You can find rolling plains, mountains and snow in many places but the people I’ve been able to connect with growing up in Alberta are one of a kind.

Do you have a favourite place to take photos?
If I had to narrow it down to one area I’d say the Icefields Parkway. There are so many picturesque lakes and prominent peaks on that road, you’re bound to see beauty every time you visit.

Where are your favourite places to eat in Edmonton?

  • The Next Act – This an awesome burger joint just off Whyte Ave.
  • The Sugar Bowl –  I love this place.
  • Remedy Café – Remedy is the go-to spot when you want to edit photos away from home. I spent a lot of time there with my good friend Taylor Burk @taylormichaelburk when we both lived in Edmonton.

What about your favourite coffee shops in Alberta?

  • Transcend – In Edmonton, this is one of my favourites.
  • Iconoclast –  This is my other favourite coffee spot in Edmonton.
  • Dose Cafe – Dose Cafe in Red Deer is the best coffee in Canada in my opinion, and I live in Vancouver haha.
  • Phil and Sebastian – When I am in Calgary I go here to work and meet friends.
  • Analog – Another awesome coffee spot in Calgary.

What events do you look most forward to in Alberta?
The Dark Sky Festival in Jasper is pretty amazing. The festival takes place during the first new moon of October when the aurora is most active. Attendees ride the SkyTram to the top of Whistlers Mountain. Once they’ve arrived at the top all the lights on the hill are turned off and you are left to take in the dazzling night sky without any light pollution. If you are into night photography or time-lapse this will be right up your alley.

I always knew Alberta was beautiful, but I never realized how unique its landscapes are. It’s very dramatic and very different than the coastal mountains.

And how about telling us some of your favourite hikes?
I really enjoy hiking in Clear Water County. It’s a little more remote than the bigger parks. One of my favourite day hikes out there is Siffleur Falls. It’s very similar to Athabasca Falls but you probably won’t see anyone on the trail.

Why should we visit Alberta?
It is one of the most scenic places in the world. I always knew Alberta was beautiful, but I never realized how unique its landscapes are. I love how you can literally see the meeting point between plains and mountains. It’s very dramatic and very different than the coastal mountains.
 

How did you first get into photography?
I picked up an old Canon film camera from a Salvation Army and I was hooked. I carried my camera everywhere I went and took photos of anything and everything. I’m not sure I’d be taking photos if I hadn’t grown up in Alberta. It’s where I fell in love with the outdoors.

Where did you buy your first camera?
My first camera was a Nikon d90, my dad bought it for me back in 2009. He picked it up at a camera store in Red Deer called McBain Camera. I’ve become pretty familiar with the staff at that location over the years. They’re talented and meticulous. When I’m in Red Deer I go to McBain Camera. In Edmonton, I usually head to Vistek. I try to stay away from large chains in general, but especially when it comes to camera gear. It definitely pays to deal with people who know what they are talking about.

Where do you go for inspiration in Alberta?
I find I’m most inspired by individuals when it comes to photography. Don’t get me wrong, I am endlessly inspired by the outdoors, but when I’m feeling creatively drained I often turn to the work of my peers. I was lucky enough to rub shoulders with some really talented people in Alberta; Carson Reneau @carsonreneau, Nicholas Yee @nicholasdyee, Shane Hauser @shanehauser and Shanelle Fredrickson @grandmotherwolf to name a few.

 

Like this post? Check out our Ultimate Photography Tour Of Newfoundland With @Tuanland and The Best Hikes In Canada, too!

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