Capturing Pemberton, one photo at a time 

'Valley of Light' shows village through one resident's eyes

click to enlarge PHOTO BY POLEK RYBCZYNSKI - Vally Of Light Polek Rybczynski took a photo every day for year in a project he calls 'Valley of Light.'
  • Photo by polek rybczynski
  • Vally Of Light Polek Rybczynski took a photo every day for year in a project he calls 'Valley of Light.'

It starts small, at first. A photo of a tree one day, a setting sun the next.

In the beginning, they're just photos — isolated images of one subject or another, one for each day of the year.

Suddenly, an entire year has passed, and you realize they're more than just single-shot pictures. Suddenly you're looking at something bigger.

"I feel I've accomplished more than I envisioned at first," says Polek Rybczynski across his kitchen table in Pemberton, a little more than a week from the end of 2014.

For the past year, Rybczynski has been documenting the Pemberton Valley one photo at a time. Every day, he sets out with his camera to capture some of the village's spontaneous beauty, posting the results to his photo blog

"I tried to keep it simple at first, with just the idea of bringing back a bit of routine and a bit of focus to something, you know?"

Rybczynski pauses.

"It's sure done that," he says. "And it proved to me that if I focus on one thing — one small thing a day — over time, it can be really substantial."

The end result is a journey through how one resident views his community and the places that surround it.

"I think centering it here, to home and to the backyard, just gave it more of a personal feel," he says. "I'd like to bring a bit more focus to this valley. I'm not the only one who thinks it's really magical... There's a very special balance, of the way the light travels, and just the way it's situated."

Rybczynski speaks in a light but deliberate tone. His words are carefully chosen, but not in a manner that seems in any way laboured.

"I meditate a lot, and I'm quite spiritual in my ways," he says.

Over the past year, Rybczynski has found photography serves as the perfect external compliment to the internal practice of meditation.

"It's very connected and it's very expressive, so that's sort of how the project came around," he says.

And now, just a few photos shy of the end of his 365-photo project, he's looking to the future. The plan is to compile his photos into a coffee-table-type book. He's hoping to publish it in the spring.

Come Jan. 1, Rybczynski's focus will switch from taking a photo a day to working on his book.

He's looking into the possibility of grant funding, and invites anyone who may have experience in that area to email him at

Until the book is published, Rybczynski's work can be viewed on his blog.

"It would be great for people to check the blog out, but more so to just step outside of their home and look up," Rybczynski says. "To look around and have it as their own experience."


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