Healing for the mind: Chris Attrell Photography

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A photograph of the eastern side of an old and sun-faded wooden house. The windows are missing their panes and the wood is gray with age. There are leafless trees, seemingly because of it being early spring or late winter when the photo was taken, along the edge of the building and a light seems to be glowing from inside the house. The sun is setting on the other side of the building and some stars are twinkling in the lightly clouded blue sky above the building. 
Sometimes I wonder what these buildings looked like when they were new… Chris Attrell

“Land of living skies” makes for amazing night photoshoots, here’s why! 

Chris Attrell is a photographer who moved to Saskatchewan to indulge in his love of the prairies in 2006. Beginning his photography journey as a young man in 1996, he has taken his time to focus on creative photography since 2003, as well as specializing in night photography.  

Last week (Feb 5-11), he held a class focusing on creative and night photography in Saskatchewan. With many more classes upcoming on his schedule, this was the perfect chance to chat with Attrell about his photography skills and his classes themselves. 

Attrell explained that living in Saskatchewan – the land of the living skies – makes specializing in night photography special. Saskatchewan is unique because it has “low light pollution, northern lights, and amazing places to shoot. I mostly shoot at abandoned houses, grain elevators and stuff which Saskatchewan has a lot of,” Attrell expands.  

Not only does he get the opportunity to shoot at those locations, but Attrell has spent some time following and shooting wild weather and storms. “I love storm photography. With night storms I do not just capture the sky, I try and find a grain elevator or a church and capture the spirit of Saskatchewan while at the same time getting the night sky or the storm,” he said. 

Another special thing about Saskatchewan is that it is a hidden gem when it comes to seeing the northern lights. 

“When you go north of Saskatoon, they are much brighter, compared to north of Regina. If I was going to shoot northern lights, I would go north of Saskatoon. I have not been north of La Ronge yet, although it has been described to me the lights are so bright that you feel like you can touch them,” Attrell elaborated. 

Speaking to his experience in photographing Saskatchewan, Attrell explained how he has travelled all around Saskatchewan for his photography. “I have travelled everywhere south of Prince Albert. I have travelled every back road, every town; farmer town, ghost town.”  

Attrell believes Saskatchewan is amazing for photography for many reasons. As Attrell explained, “Saskatchewan is famous for its amazing natural light because we get so many seasons and emotions in a day. So, you can have different moods of lighting during the day in 24 hours. If you live in southern California, you are stuck with sunny and no clouds.”  

Attrell has experienced many different moments of nature and light over the years he’s been doing photography. He does not just do photography for a job, he does it because he enjoys the way the night sky makes him feel.  

“When you are out there at night, as you are staring at the night sky, it brings you down to earth and it makes you feel your size, which is tiny. It just grounds you. Being out there in the middle of nowhere at night really rewires your brain.”  

In addition to his passion for good photos, he also helps people learn to understand his version of photography so they can experience its joys. “The classes I have been doing for the last seven years. There are three hours [long] beginner classes, to help teach people how to get off of auto-mode and into the basics in their camera to be a fun photographer.”  

“The reason why I teach my type of photography is fun photography. I want people to take a camera and have fun. It does include a bit of night photography because it is soothing and calming. Night photography is an ultimate calm down.”  

As for the class structure, learners will look at Attrell’s photos as examples, before putting their newly acquired skills into practice. “When I do a class, I have a computer with a projector, and I go through and show them examples. But my classes are very hands-on. I go to every camera, and I show them how to do things so that everyone gets hands-on experience. It is helpful to be shown how to do it so that people remember.”  

Attrell also shared some tips with readers if they wanted to improve their photography skills but were unsure if they wanted to sign up for a class.  

“If you want to take your photography skills to the next level, ensure you obsess with good lighting. You can learn technical skills in a couple of hours. The lighting sets the mood, it helps set how you are capturing stuff. If you have a cell phone with good lighting, you are going to have memorable pictures.” Essentially, the lighting helps create the soul and the emotion of the pictures.  

If you are now wanting to take a photography class with Attrell, know that he has been teaching classes since 2016. On his website at anywhere.ca/class/ you can find his upcoming classes. Attrell says he has taught over 10,000 students in 1,000 classes all over British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.  

If you are more of a visual person and you want to see some of the amazing photos that Attrell has taken over the years, you can do that on his website, anywhere.ca. If you look under Gallery, you can see a wide range of photos which he has categorised.  

Attrell has photographs of everything from abandoned interiors to night photography, Saskatchewan ghosts, and more. He has an open eye to multiple different topics in photography.  

With all this information about Chris Attrell, his photography, experiences, expertise, website, and classes, it’s clear that photography is a great hobby and experience. If you’re looking to try out a new hobby, maybe this is the one for you. Maybe you’ll even end up liking it so much it grows from a hobby into a passion or even a career! 

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