Local photographer Brian Aikens has put together his second calendar offering.
For 2023, he is selling two different calendars.
One is of beloved local eagles; the other is a cornucopia of other Sea to Sky wildlife.
The latter features a great blue heron, least weasel, river otter, bear, bobcat and more.
"Last year, I had been focusing on getting good eagle shots; they are magnificent animals as well as being challenging to photograph in the field. We live in a fabulous place to be able to observe them, especially in the winter," Aikens told The Squamish Chief.
"There is such a wonderful diversity to the wildlife in the area, so it seemed like the format of a wall art calendar would be a perfect way to enjoy an overview of some of the other local signature and rare species.
He puts the calendars together with the help of his wife, Jill Aikens, who produces and edits them.
Asked what may surprise non-wildlife photographers about the craft, Aikens said it requires the four "Ps."
"Patience, Preparedness, Practice, Persistence," he said. "Patience: be prepared to stay still and wait, often for many hours, for an opportunity to present itself, often in fairly uncomfortable conditions. Preparedness: Know your animals and their behaviour, know your camera to the point it is instinctive (see Practice); know your environment (direction of light, backgrounds, etc.); know how to be innocuous to the wildlife to photograph them displaying natural behaviour," he added.
"Practice: Continually find opportunities to shoot and improve your techniques so when opportunity knocks, you can get the shot. Persistence: Wildlife rarely is predictable; you need to go back time and time again in hopes that the opportunity presents itself. Luck is when opportunity meets preparedness."
As he did last year, Aikens is donating to local organizations.
Again this year, part proceeds are being gifted to the Squamish Environment Society.
"The SES has an EagleWatch program that helps preserve wintering bald eagles and their ecosystem in the Squamish Valley," Aikens said.
"The SES runs several other projects, one of which is the Wildlife Connectivity project, which aims to reduce the loss of biodiversity in the region.”
EagleWatch donations will come from eagle calendar sales, while Wildlife Connectivity will receive donations from wildlife calendar sales.
So far, they are selling well. As for which will be the favourite — eagles versus other wildlife — Aikens said the wildlife calendars have been selling with a 60/40 bias.
"That may change when people who come to Squamish specifically to see the eagles start arriving in the fall," he noted.
Calendars can also be purchased by sending Aikens' a direct message on Instagram (@brian.aikens).
Those interested in sending a calendar to other countries can order them through the publisher (Magcloud) for US$20.
The links to ordering the calendar can be found on his website: www.photographyba.com, under the "calendars" tab.
If other local businesses would like to offer them for sale, Aikens said to get in touch.
As for next year, he said he and Jill have considered creating other calendars with different themes, such as landscapes of the Sea to Sky area, or one focused on the local bird populations other than eagles.
He notes that when in the Sea to Sky wilds, whether photographing or just visiting, it is important to always respect the place and its creatures.
“I encourage all people who visit and live in Sea to Sky to take the time to ‘be’ in the environment and enjoy the flora and fauna that surround us. — and do it respectfully. We share it with all the wild things,” he said.