Thursday, 21 March 2013 05:33

Swift Current photographer on (prairie) fire as photos accepted to Los Angeles gallery exhibit

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Spring Thaw Spring Thaw Courtesy Craig Hilts

Ironically, Swift Current photographer Craig Hilts was dreaming of a warm place south of the border last Thursday and it wasn’t for his upcoming vacation either.


The 1650 Gallery in Los Angeles, California is hosting an Opening Night reception March 23 for an upcoming exhibit called “Snow and Ice.” Two of the photos for the winter photography-themed exhibit are from Hilts’ Prairie Fire Photography.
The photos “Spring Thaw” and “The Warmth of Red” (shown here) were chosen by a juried selection process. It’s quite a major honour for Hilts to have two of the five photos he sent in electronically to be selected. He saw the Los Angeles gallery’s notice online looking for submissions and he decided to enter.
“We Canadians — we’ve got far more experience with snow and ice than those in California,” said Hilts jokingly.
While only taking up photography in 2006, Hilts is also a storm chaser and is able to effectively combine his two passions capturing some amazing photographs. See his website at http://www.prairie firephoto.com/.
As well, he has already won some awards including placing in a prestigious photo contest called Whatever the Weather with Canadian Geographic with his shot Monster on the Plains. He’s also won a photo contest with Reader’s Digest and has been the guest speaker at various functions. While the Canadian Geographic recognition is probably still the win he is most proud of considering outstanding photography is one of the major qualities Canadian Geographic is know for, he said this Los Angeles gallery showing “...would be pretty up there.”
Hilts is constantly looking for something nature or weather-related to shoot. While he loves chasing storms and closely follows weather patterns for that next big action shot, Hilts also highly appreciates the subtleties of nature. While most of us just walk by something because we’ve seen it before or are too busy to appreciate its intrinsic beauty, Hilts has what those in the photography industry call an “eye” for it. He knows when, where, and how to capture a beautiful image. It’s not merely luck or necessarily being at the right place at the right time. One also has to make his/her own luck and has to have the technical know-how to capture a shot.
For his Los Angeles gallery photos, Hilts said he went out to Swift Current Creek to capture the Spring Thaw picture. He walked around the area and waited until he found something he liked.
“I went out there and I just saw it — with an image, it’s just something which catches my eye.”
To get the The Warmth of Red, he just went and took a drive on a morning which had hoar frost. With this shot he knew he had to work quickly.
“I wanted to get out and capture a hoar frost picture so you just have to get up off the couch and get out there. “Just went out on a grid road off the beaten path and saw it,” explained Hilts. “The sun came out and usually within 30 minutes of the sun being out — that’s all the hoar frost lasts for.”
Hilts is a co-owner and the senior financial advisor at Raymond James Ltd. in Swift Current. He picked up the photography bug less than a decade ago and said he did everything he could to learn the technical aspects of the camera.
His love of photography just carried on from there.
“I was just trying to learn as much as I could,” said Hilts. “Have that idea in my head what I want and then I’m thinking ‘how am I going to do that’,” explained Hilts of his mindset. “I really love learning about the camera and understanding it.
“It’s that moment when you see something that makes you stop and think (that’s amazing)... that’s what I want to capture,” noted Hilts. “I love showing off Saskatchewan.”
To see more photos check out the gallery’s website: http://1650gallery.com/.

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Ryan Dahlman

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