Making the most of the mountains 

What: It’s Mountaineering photo exhibit

Where: Viseye Gallery, in BBK’s Bar

When: Daily to Jan. 15

Mother always knows best, especially in local amateur photographer, Guillaume Otis’ case. The skiing and hiking guide turned his love for mountaineering into a hobby in his late teens but it was his mom who saw he had greater potential.

"She spotted my ability way before I did and bought me a really good camera about five years back," said the 26-year-old Otis. "She encouraged me to take it more seriously and now I’m part of exhibits, even selling select pieces, it’s really great."

Otis has six of his best shots on display this month at BBK’s, along with works by professional photographers Brian K. Smith and Paul Decarie. The exhibit is titled: It’s Mountaineering. Not surprising really, considering all three photographers have a very close relationship with the mountains. They’re all avid rock climbers, hikers, snowshoers, mountain bikers and pretty much any other extreme activity you can pump your adrenaline into that involves scaling peaks and descending to valleys.

Each artist has hung a selection of shots on the walls above BBK’s Bar, depicting landscapes and people in action. Some are titled, while other description tags are left blank, intentionally, said Otis.

"I didn’t want to mention where some of my shots were taken because it’s all about the emotions in the piece, not where it is."

You can bet it’s probably somewhere around Mt. Logan in the Yukon though, as he just spent the summer climbing there with camera in tow.

Decarie and Smith are the two professional photographers in the exhibition. Decarie is an ex Whistler resident of 20 years who recently made the move to Squamish. An accomplished guide and mountaineer, he’s had pictures published in esteemed industry magazines such as Snowboard Life. Considering he headed up the videography unit at Mountain Heli-skiing for eight years, this guy sure knows how to work a lens.

Smith has travelled the world taking photos, including a stint in Nicaragua documenting the devastation of Hurricane Mitch and the clean-up campaign after an earthquake in Afghanistan. On the lighter side of things, his passion is mountaineering and he can be regularly found around Black Tusk, Garibaldi Lake and the surrounding glaciers rolling off the snaps. All his shots in the exhibit were taken in the wild, three on infra-red.

It’s Mountaineering is free and open seven days a week until Jan. 15. What a great conversation point over an appie next time you’re mountaineering yourself. The Viseye Gallery is open seven days a week, in BBK’s Bar in Blackcomb’s Upper Village. It’s right next door to Chef Bernard’s café.

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