Photographing Tofino

  By Brad Wrobleski

I stepped out of my beachfront cabin off the winding cedar walkway, out of the vibrant green forest and onto the smooth sands of legendary Long Beach. As the curl of a glistening lime-green wave carved a white foam arc across the beach and the sun sprinkled mini rainbows through the morning mist, I wondered why I had never been to Tofino before.

After years of traveling to 55 countries across all the continents while shooting articles for magazines and stock photography, I had finally made a visit to to Canada’s wild and wonderful west coast. Why had it taken me so long to discover this visual Eden in my own “backyard”?

There are few places that offer so many amazing easy-to-get-to photo opportunities, great food, cool culture and community as Tofino. Nestled at the western edge of Vancouver Island, Tofino is linked to the world by a single road.

In just a short drive you can photograph the giant trees of old growth forest, soaring eagles, beautiful beaches, black bears, driftwood, lighthouses, whales, sand, surfers and the town of Tofino. Not to mention the heritage buildings of wood and stone and the harbour of colourful boats against a backdrop of mountains, sky and seagulls. It would make a great magazine cover.

Tofino is a fantastic place to create incredible landscape, plant and wildlife photography but also an amazing location for environmental portraits, architecture photography and a whole lot of exploration. After a couple trips to Tofino shooting and seeking out locations I realized one of the reasons I had never been is that Tofino is still new, still relatively un-tapped in terms of photography.

I hadn’t seen hundreds of postcards and calendars of it like I have of the Rockies, or Utah or the Cascades. Its newness is the reason I first went and the reason I keep going back. The visual inspirations are infectious: the infinite greens of moss, pine, fern and forest. It is amazing capturing lines and textures of sand, driftwood, pebbles and the hundred thousand expressions of sea and sky from dawn until the last press of the shutter.

Then, sitting on the beach washing down the day with a legendary fish taco, a few oysters and maybe a glass of wine it is easy to imagine all the possibilities for great night photography of star trails, beachfront cabins and the moonlit waves.

Now after several trips to Tofino I no longer ask what took me so long to discover this visual paradise, but instead, why can I come back?

Want to explore Tofino? Join Brad Wrobleski and Renee Hopper to photograph Tofino’s legendary waves, lush rain forests, wildlife and wild beaches. You can expect a lot of hands-on, individual, personalized instruction. Click here for more info.