Tofino – Canada’s Wild West Coast Muse

  By Brad Wrobleski

At first, I didn’t believe that I could get the shot. I unscrewed my short lens and put on the big one- quietly- as if the bear could hear me. I zoomed-in and tried to find compositional balance in the chaos of rocks, water, and old driftwood. I metered off the sand. I waited and watched as he roamed left then right, then up and up, poking his nose into my frame. Click!

He roamed the beach turning over huge rocks with the swipe of one paw. The rocking boat made focusing tricky. But, years of shooting adventure sports gave me the answer. I pulled out my homemade beanbag and switched focusing methods. He walked into my frame flipping over a boulder. It was as if he’d been hired as model for us. Click!

I had never photographed foraging black bears off a boat before. My new subject made photography exciting and inspirational! There is nothing like inspiration! The most important thing for a photographer is inspiration. You need a reason to pull your camera out of the bag, a motivation to lift the camera up from around your neck. Its a visual incentive to take the lens cap off and create photography. Tofino, British Columbia, is the perfect muse.

As a professional photographer shooting for magazines, and advertising, who has spent my career traveling all the continents, up mountains, across deserts, through rain-forests, oceans, and roaming the streets, and alleys, of much of the big, and small-cities of the world, I find some of my greatest inspiration in Canada’s wild and the wonderful west-coast.

Since my first trip to experience the sunset on legendary Long Beach I have been back many times. I go because it is beautiful, has a quiet wildness that the Canmore area had 20 years ago, and because there is so much to photograph in such a small space. And it has a cool vibe.

Glistening beaches, snow capped mountains, a harbor of colorful old barn wood buildings, blow holes, rolling streets of colorful locals, curling blue black waves, surfers and kite boarders, tidal pools of starfish and surprises, textures and patterns of driftwood, soaring green trees as wide as a motor home, classic lighthouses, black bears and Bald eagles, sunning seals and night skies of bright stars accented by midnight waves glowing with phosphorescence, whales, giant rainbows and topped off with stunning sunsets of a thousand shades of orange that seemingly lasts forever because the next stop for the sun is Japan. And I like to top the day off with a beer and fish tacos on the beach at sunset, or a glass of wine and pizza for a fun editing and critique session of the shots of Canada’s wild west muse.